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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - $15.6m of electricity stolen in 2008

$15.6m of electricity stolen in 2008

090311_14.jpg
090311_14.jpg

About 10 percent of national grid output taken illegally, less than 2007, says EdC.

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A technician does maintenance on a Phnom Penh powerline.   

Losing power

  • $159.6m worth of electricity produced in 2008
  • $15.6m stolen last year
  • 9.8pc of total output
  • 11pc of electricity production stolen per year since 2003

Source: Electricite du Cambodge

ELECTRICITY theft cost state-run Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) around US$15.6 million in revenue last year alone, officials said Tuesday.

According to the national power supplier, around 10 percent of last year's estimated income was lost due to dishonest clients.

"Last year, the EdC supplied 1.14 billion kilowatts of power to about 205,000 families in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kampong Speu town," Chhin Ing, director of the EdC's business department, said Tuesday. The total value of the electricity supplied for the year was an estimated $159.6 million, he added.

Since 2003, the EdC had lost around 11 percent of revenue annually.

"Of this figure, the EdC lost about 9.8 percent due to power stealing," he said.

He said, however, that the loss was lower than previous years.

"Since 2003, the EdC had lost around 11 percent of revenue annually, which declined to about 9.8 last year due to our strong efforts in both technique and management," he said.

According to local media reports, EdC inspectors last week traced a $3,350 loss to the mansion of tycoon Duong Chhiv, chairman of the Chinese Association in Cambodia, who had his electricity meter fixed to avoid payment.

"Electrical power offences always happen, it is unavoidable; it is like police trying to catch thieves, but we constantly inspect houses to check for and reduce power stealing," Chhin Ing said.

"Offenders will be fined based on EdC's regulations," he added.

However, opposition lawmakers speculated Tuesday that electricity fraud was more likely to stem from corruption within the organisation itself. 

"As I inspect, power stealing has been conducted by EdC officials themselves. They have allocated and connected electricity for unscrupulous businessmen or powerful people in order to collect money for their own pockets," said Son Chhay, a lawmaker for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.

"If there is no reform in management, and if there is no proper punishment for corrupt officials, the loss is the burden of the state."

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