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High bills charge up protesters

Up to 200 villagers in Takeo’s Angkor Borei district protested outside the district hall for the second time in a month yesterday, demanding the prices of electricity and water be lowered.

Villagers from Angkor Borei and Prek Phtorl communes had protested in December over the same issue, and said they did so again yesterday because there has been no resolution.

A village representative, Um Keav, told the Post yesterday that the villagers are demanding that the authorities lower the electricity rate from 1,200 riel ($0.30) per kilowatt-hour to 800 riel ($0.20) per kilowatt-hour, and lower the water rate from 2,300 riel ($0.57) to 1,600 riel ($0.40) per cubic metre of water, as the electricity and water companies had promised.

“The electricity and clean-water price is so high at the moment and the villagers cannot afford it,” Keav said. He added that the electricity company, Nou Kruy, used to supply electricity to the area from a generator, but for the last three years had been sourcing cheaper electricity from Vietnam through local authorities without lowering prices for residents.

Angkor Borei district deputy governor Puy Rotha said yesterday that the authorities do not set the price for electricity and water. They had, however, contacted the electricity company to ask for an explanation on behalf of the residents, he said.

Rotha also insisted that the water company is unable to lower its rate to the level asked by residents because it would lose money.

“The clean water company has explained to the people and showed them the calculations that show that if they lower their prices, they will go bankrupt,” he said.

“The price is the same in other areas.”

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