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A USTDA grant in Thailand is helping to increase the reliability, quality, and efficiency of power distribution in metropolitan Bangkok.  Pictured here at the grant signing ceremony are (left to right):  Edward Chan, President, UCI; Rachaneekorn Sriswasdi, USTDA Asia Regional Office; Ann Bacher, Commercial Counselor, U.S. Embassy in Bangkok; Ambassador Boyce; Governor Pornthape; Unggoon Mondhatuplin, Deputy Governor, Technology and Planning, MEA; Chamnong Wathanavaha, Deputy Governor, Distribution System Management, MEA; and Kulchalee Tiewtrakul, Deputy Governor, Corporate, MEA.


BANGKOK, THAILAND – (February 17, 2006) Increasing the reliability, quality, and efficiency of power distribution in metropolitan Bangkok is the subject of a technical agreement concluded today between the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and Thailand’s Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA).  The agreement is part of USTDA’s commitment to facilitate the development of Thailand’s utility distribution infrastructure in support of the expanded commercial relationship envisioned by the proposed U.S.-Thailand Free Trade Agreement.


Under the $379,640 agreement, USTDA will support technical assistance to MEA in the development of management and substation automation systems to strengthen power distribution in metropolitan Bangkok.  U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Ralph L. Boyce, and Mr. Pornthape Thunyapongchai, Governor of MEA signed the agreement on behalf of the U.S. and Thai governments, respectively, in a ceremony held at MEA’s Head Office. 


The USTDA assistance responds to increasing demands for high quality delivery of electricity to over 11 million people in MEA’s service territory, as well as rising costs for energy.  In addition, the grant furthers efforts to establish the infrastructure necessary for economic growth in Thailand to occur under the proposed free trade relationship with the United States.


MEA has selected Utility Consulting International (UCI) of Cupertino, California, to provide the USTDA-funded technical assistance.  In addition to the USTDA grant awarded today, UCI will contribute additional resources toward the completion of the technical assistance.  


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.