The Power Development Fund of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) brings the media to visit a community near Khanom Power Plant, in Khanom Subdistrict, Khanom district of Nakhon Si Thammarat province, as the community has fully utilized the government’s policy of “Kid Dee Mee Tun Hai” or translated to the “Funding for good ideas” project. The Power Development Fund provides financial aid to communities located near power plant, through proposals of project ideas to support their livelihood. The community was able to present several projects, which has been approved, such as projects to renovate their Laem Prathap pier to greater accommodate tourists visit to sight see pink dolphins in their natural habitat. The community also requested for a fund to purchase equipment to support the community’s youth shadow show, which helps preserve local culture and tradition; furthermore the commission also provided fund for the community to construct their City Pillar Shrine, as well as supporting the community’s Northern whiting fishing festival, an annual festival which has been inherited for generations.
The Power Development Fund under the ERC was established in 2007, by virtue of the Energy Industry Act B.E. 2550. The Energy Industry Act B.E. 2550 is a law issued in response to the government policy on National Energy Industry Management Restructuring. Policy making, regulation and operation functions of Energy Industry are hereby distinctly separated from one another, in order to enhance participation of the private sector, communities and the general public so that Energy Industry Operation will be efficient, secure, adequate and extensive with reasonable prices and quality according to standards.
Under the Act, the Power Development Fund will work to assist communities affected by the operation of Power Plant located in their area. The Fund has selected communities eligible for the assistant, which are located within 1, 3 or 5 kilometers from the plant, coverage varies from location to location depending on the impact and suitability.
From 2012 to present, the Fund approved a total of 40,822 projects worth over 15.3 billion baht. Of which 1.521 billion baht was for project management, while 13.781 billion was for the project itself. The community living near power plants have reportedly been benefiting from the projects as the funding help create jobs, stimulate local economy, and develop areas, which helps to create better living condition, livelihood as well as helping to preserve local culture and tradition. Many projects also helped to preserve the environment.
Tambon Khanom Community is among communities that have projects that stand out, such as their Laem Prathap pier expansion project. The pier is an important connecting point for the local residents both for transportation as well as for fishermen to dock their boat to bring in their catch. After being used for a long time, the pier was worn out and need repairment. Local residents then requested for the funding to renovate the pier. The project was approved on January 17, 2014 under a budget of 1.581 million baht. The renovation was completed within the same year. After the completion, local residents expressed their satisfaction as they now have a sturdy pier, providing safe and convenient travel for all residents, fishermen as well as tourists. Tour boat operators also shared that tourist traffic to the area also increased by 2-3 folds after the completion of the project.
Later, the community requested for another funding to purchase equipment and the construction of their Youth’s shadow show, seeing that the proposal will help preserve the community’s local arts and culture, the committee approved on July 28, 2015, a budget of 50,000 baht for the project. One year passed, on July 28, 2016, purchase and construction were completed.
Back in 2014 local residents requested for a fund to construct their City Pillar Shrine, to be a monument in remembrance of the older generations who have founded the Khanom Village, fostering bond and companionship among local residents. The request received approved and was offered a budget of 490,000 baht in 2014 and an additional 2.47 million baht in 2016. Now the site is nearing completion.
Lastly, the Fund also supported the community’s Northern whiting fishing festival, the festival has always been a tradition in the community, and to keep it alive the village organize such festival on an annual basis, this year entering its 14th year since the official organization, but short in funding. The committee thereby approved a budget worth 150,000 baht to organize this year’s Northern whiting fishing festival scheduled on July 7 at Nai Phlao Beach. The event helps to generate tourist income as every year more tourists travel to the area to participate in the annual festival.