ABOUT 300 residents of Banteay Meanchey’s Sisophon district protested outside the provincial hall yesterday, marking the third time customers have gathered to agitate for a local water company to lower its prices.
Residents say the privately-owned Banteay Meanchey Town Water Supply company has raised its prices twice in the past year to a figure that represents rates of almost four times the 500 riel per cubic metre charged by the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.
Last January, the Banteay Meanchey company raised the price from 1,000 riel per cubic metre of water to 1,600 riel. On November 1, the price increased to 1,900 riel per cubic metre.
Pov Sok Vathana, a 31-year-old teacher who participated in the protest, said the company had promised to lower its rates by the beginning of December, but had reduced the price by only 50 riels per cubic metre.
“We don’t agree with this price reduction and [we have] come to protest. We ask the water supply company to cut down the price by 1,000 riel, otherwise we won’t pay for our bills,” she said. “My salary is low, I don’t have enough to pay [this much] for water and I have to pay for many bills.”
Hout Tong Lay, director of the company, declined to comment yesterday, saying that he was in a meeting. Last month, however, he told The Post that the company would not be able to lower its rates.
“We already calculated, we lost on other expenses, therefore we could not reduce the price at 1,000 riel, I hope the villagers will understand,” he said.