When I moved to Thailand, I was shocked to discover how expensive electricity is in Thailand compared to salaries and the cost of electricity in the west. Thai electricity is efficient (unless Thailand is in the middle of monsoon weather) but the high cost can be frustrating. Electricity in Thailand is easy to get connected though and easy to pay for when the electricity bill arrives.
Electricity Voltage in Thailand – Electricity in Thailand is 220 volts and power outlets are not usually earthed. That can lead to lots of sparks when you plug in an appliance and some scary moments occasionally if you don’t do it quite right.
Plugs are usually two pronged and are either flat or round, but some apartments also have 3 pronged outlets for certain appliances, so you might have to buy an adapter.
Getting Electricity in Thailand – If, like many expats, you live in a serviced apartment in Thailand, the electricity bill will be billed by the apartment building and you will just pay them. If you move into an apartment or condo that is not serviced, or a house or townhouse, you will have to contact EGAT (the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand) to get the bill put in your name, and to have the electricity connected.
Unlike the west though, where it can take forever, both times I have had to do this in Thailand, my electricity has been connected in less than 24 hours.
Cost of Electricity in Thailand – The cost of electricity is high in Thailand, especially compared to salaries. If you live in a serviced apartment, the charge per electricity unit is even higher, so be careful how long you run air conditioners for.
I live in a one-bedroom serviced apartment and my electricity bill every month is over $130. Expensive, as I don’t have the air-conditioning on all the time, and am careful with lights, hot water etc.
I pay 3 baht (10 cents) per unit more than the normal charge, as it is a serviced apartment, which usually adds up to an extra $25-$50 a month more than people who pay the normal unit charge.
Using Appliances Brought From Overseas – If you bring appliances from outside Thailand into Thailand, you will more than likely need to get an adaptor as the plugs will be different and the voltage will be different.
You can buy an adaptor or transformer at any hardware store or department store in Thailand, and they are cheap. So, if you really must bring your favorite blender, you can bring it with peace of mind.
Always Switch Power Supply Off Before Changing Bulbs – As electricity is not grounded in Thailand, make sure you switch the power off before you start changing light bulbs or otherwise messing with an electrical outlet. People get electrocuted every day in Thailand because of dodgy wiring and outlets not being grounded.
Don’t be one of them.
Power Failures – In Bangkok, electricity used to be reliable. In the last couple of years though, the city is seeing more frequent power cuts. In the first seven years of living here, I only lost power once for more than an hour and that was when a huge cobra curled itself around the overhead electricity lines and got electrocuted.
Even then, the electricity company had a truck out at 2am and it was fixed in less than an hour. Lately, my building has been seeing power cuts every month or so.
When we get monsoon rain, the electricity will occasionally go off as well, but it is usually only a minute or two minutes and it comes back on. Outside Bangkok, electricity is less reliable, however, so make sure you always have a fully-charged flashlight.
How To Pay Your Electricity Bill in Thailand – Paying an electricity bill in Thailand is easy. The bill will be mailed to you once a month and you can pay at any 7-Eleven, most department stores, the post office or just mail it in. I have always paid mine at a 7-Eleven as there is one on practically every street corner in Bangkok.
Electricity in Thailand is usually reliable, easy to get connected, and easy to pay for. Just remember it is not as cheap as most other things in Thailand, and you won’t have a heart attack when the electricity bill arrives.