The court ruled that a power plant developer must disclose its electricity purchase agreement to the group, which represents a community affected by one of the company's plants.
Gulf JP UT Co filed a complaint with the court in 2009, asking the court to nullify the decision made by the Office of the Official Information Commission (OIC) and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) ordering the company to reveal the contents of the power purchase agreement it made with Egat.
The OIC and Egat made their resolution after the People's Network against Power Plant Projects petitioned Egat to reveal the power deal signed with the company, which is a developer of a 1,600-megawatt natural gas-fuelled power plant in Bang Khla district of Chachoengsao.
The court yesterday dismissed the company's complaint, saying the 1997 Official Information Act guarantees the people's right of access to state information unless such disclosures will cause explicit damages to parties.
In this case, the court ruled that the disclosure of the power purchase agreement would not cause business damage to the company, considering the fact that at least four power plant developers had earlier agreed to reveal their power purchase agreements.
The court said the residents' request is due to their worries about the project's negative impacts on their livelihood and their wish to monitor state projects, and is not motivated by business concerns.
The OIC and Egat's resolution on the disclosure of the power purchase agreement is in line with the official information law and does not violate confidential business information law, the court said.
The court was also unconvinced by the company's claim that the agreement revelation would affect the country's power security, ruling that the power plant project does not affect Thailand's macroeconomy.
"From now on, people can go to the Egat office and see the power purchase agreement, which is no longer a secret," said Songkrant Pongboonjun, a lawyer with the Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for the Wants (Enlaw) who represents the People's Network.
The court will today rule in a similar case involving the Power Generation Supply Co's power purchase agreement for a 1,600mW power plant in Nong Saeng district of Saraburi.
Both Gulf JP UT and Power Generation Supply are affiliates of Gulf JP Company. Salach Rattanavadi, CEO of Gulf JP company, yesterday declined to comment on the case.
The company can appeal against the verdict within 30 days.