ABOUT 30 residents of Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district met with officials from the Electricity Authority of Cambodia on Wednesday about a pricing dispute that has dragged on for more than two months, and some attendees say they left disappointed after officials refused to adhere to their demands.
Last month, Kandal Stung residents began protesting a price increase that saw rates climb from 1,100 riels per kilowatt-hour to 1,700 riels (about US$0.41) per kilowatt-hour.
Soun Ny said Wednesday’s four-hour meeting with EAC officials and representatives of the local power provider had been a waste of time.
“Meeting face-to-face today was useless, because the officials from the authority didn’t agree to reduce the price,” she said.
Long Sokunthea, who also attended the meeting, said Kandal Stung residents had reluctantly agreed to pay the elevated rate for the past two months but would not do so forever.
She added that the residents might ultimately decide to take their case to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“We still wish to hold a protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house, because all of us think that he is the only one who can help us,” she said.
On February 4, 200 villagers from two communes in Kandal Stung tried to stage a demonstration in front of Kandal provincial headquarters but were turned away by police.
The following day, some of the villagers met with district and EAC officials. Though the officials agreed to comply with the villagers’ request to replace the existing 5-ampere current with a 10-ampere current, they did not agree to lower the price.
Representatives of the Chhay Neng Company, the power provider, who were not present at the February meeting, did attend the meeting on Wednesday, Soun Ny said.
They could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening, but Soun Ny said they had agreed to lower the price if given approval by the EAC.
However, an EAC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the authority had no plans to lower the price.
Kandal Stung district governor Choie Sobin said he did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.