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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - EdC to light up casino town

Workers erect power lines in Phnom Penh last year
Workers erect power lines in Phnom Penh last year. Electricite du Cambodge is planning to roll out the electricity grid to Bavet town over the coming years. Heng Chivoan

EdC to light up casino town

Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) has announced an $84.5 million project that will see the Vietnamese border town of Bavet connected to the Kingdom’s power grid.

EdC representatives told media on January 15 that the Chinese government will in part fund the power grid expansion from Kandal province’s Takhmao city to Bavet town in Svay Rieng province to support the latter’s hotel industry.

Bavet town is known mainly for housing many of the country’s border casinos.

“After this project is finished, it will serve not only people and industry located directly along the grid, but it will also allow Cambodia to sell surplus power back to Vietnam and Thailand,” Ty Thany, executive director at the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC) said yesterday.

The Cambodian government aims to provide power to every Cambodian household by 2020. Just last month, US conglomerate General Electric signed an agreement to assist the EdC in rolling out its national electricity grid.

“When the dams cannot provide enough power, we have to buy from Vietnam or Thailand. But when the dams do provide a surplus, we are able sell power back to Vietnam and Thailand as these two countries are now starving for cheaper energy sources,” Thany added.

According to the EdC, electricity costs in the border casino town will decline from 900 riel ($0.22) per kilowatt to 650 riel per kilowatt after the project is complete. The EdC however is yet to reveal when the project’s construction was slated to begin.

Bavet town currently depends on electricity from Vietnam to service its 20 megawatt per hour demand. Only 13 of Cambodia’s 25 provinces are connected to the national power grid, according to the EAC’s 2013 annual report.

Keo Yany, owner of a local rice milling business in Bavet town, said she is currently purchases her electricity from a private distributor for less than 600 riel per kilowatt already.

Yany said, however that she was unsure of her electricity supply’s origin, and that it was not stable and often caused disruptions to her operation.

“I want stable and cheaper energy to benefit my business,” Yany told the Post.

“I have spent more than $3,000 on electricity costs over the past six months, over the last harvest, and I just want to get my money’s worth.”

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