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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Electricity on Koh Samui; Power cuts and black outs

The current situation is that since over 3 days now the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are without electrical power.
Currently Samui should have a system in place where power moves around for 2 hours at a time, in a 14 hour rotation scheme. A rolling power supply. Reality is that power seems to come and go at total random and not always for 2 hours.

Rolling power outage

Rolling power outage for today with a 14 hour loop

Earlier today the Surat Thani governor (this is the province that Samui is part of) declared Samui, and Koh Phangan as emergency disaster zones.

Just like a year and a half ago, when in March 2011 we had unusual water problems on Koh Samui, I was on Koh Lanta and barely could make it off the island, this time around I spend one day and one night without electricity and left for Khao Lak where I'm writing this.
Sleeping at night was not easy in a hot room without any means of cooling off and it's eerie to drive around in the dark without any lights at all.

There's still no official version of what has happened besides this; The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) in Koh Samui district explained that the outage was caused by a rupture to the submarine power cable connecting a substation on Samui island with the mainland.
There are no public announcements made, except apparently on cable tv, but hey, don't you need electricity to watch TV?

There's also a serious lack of diesel on the island since all the big resorts with generators, or anybody with a generator really, buys the diesel to run their generators.
Ironically, for the elections to be held 23rd December, all political parties on the island had their trucks with announcements to support the participants in the elections drive around the island, wasting valuable diesel.

Plenty of small businesses will struggle with this  situation if they are dependent on electricity or internet connections. Something not too much asked for today. It does show how dependent we are on something like electricity, something we really take for granted.
It looks like candles and batteries are starting to become scarce.

The airport is still open and runs under a normal schedule, apparently plenty of guests are leaving the island. Not having running water, aircon or a fan in the room or pools without pumps are not really enjoyable.

All in all it seems this is a situation that could have been prevented if the necessary maintenance and precaution were taken, but as with so many things in this part of the world, it seems to be easier to live from day to day. It's fairly incomprehensible how it can take up to 3 days without being able to show any form of improvement.

Strength to my family and friends on Samui, I can only hope that this passes by quickly and electricity will be restored. Just another day in paradise!

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Ingrid said...

Thanks very much for these updates, Camille! I'm scheduled to arrive in Koh Tao on December 9 -- any reason to think Koh Tao will be affected at all? It seems it gets its power from a different source, but maybe there will be more people on Koh Tao than there would be otherwise?
Thanks again,

Camille said...

Hi Ingrid,

Koh Tao is not affected, so don't worry about that. I also wouldn't expect the average person that visits Koh Samui make a detour to Koh Tao, that's a different target group.

Klaus said...

Thanks for posting the time schedule for the rolling electric. I could pick the right time when my resident friends on samui had electic and send the the schedule.
Very helpfull for them and apreciated.

Camille said...

Hi Klaus,

Not sure how accurate the information is, to be honest.
Right now electricity is back on again, since two hours and for the first time simultaneously on both islands, Let's hope it lasts.