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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tokyo boosts power supply

Tokyo boosts power supply

Japan is spending $20 million in grant aid to rehabilitate and upgrade

electrical supply from Phnom Penh's Central Electric site No. 5.

The

up-graded facilities are planned to begin operations in January 1995. But

Japanese engineers said that there will still be a significant electrical

short-fall for the city even after the planned generators come on

line.

Japanese engineers on the site say that current electrical output

is 18 or 19 MW. Though four 5 MW generators are operating, at least one is down

for repairs at any one time. Cambodian power station managers believe that the

station actually produces 22 MW of power.

Michio Fukuda, a Japanese

engineer at the site, said that a recently completed survey of electricity usage

in Phnom Penh indicates that the demand for power in Phnom Penh is greater than

60 MW of power. Even with the two new Japanese generators, there will still be a

power short-fall for Phnom Penh.

One building at the power station

contains five 5 MW generators. Marked "Made in USSR" in English, they are

covered with dirt and cobwebs. One of the generators is still in the original

packing crate. An intended Soviet upgrade of the power station appeared to be a

victim of the end of the cold war and the dissolution of the Soviet

state.

Japanese engineers said that on their first, survey visit of the

site, it appeared that the Soviets had left very abruptly. "We found a Russian

typewriter with a half-typed page of paper still in it," one said.

Part

of the investment will move these five generators to an area where they can be

cannibalized for spare parts.

In an area behind the current power

station, two new generators will be installed in two phases. Each will be able

to generate 10 MW of power. The new generators will be provided by Japan's

Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, with funding from the Japanese

government.

Fukuda said that in order for power to be made available to

Phnom Penh more efficiently, two areas need attention, the management of the

power stations and the distribution system. Neither are directly part of the

project, he said.

Engineers said that there should be no environmental

concerns about the equipment being renovated. Japanese Embassy first Secretary

Imamura said that the provision of power to the Phnom Penh will have direct

health and business benefits.

Three Japanese companies are involved in

the up-grade effort. In addition to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industry which is

providing the diesel engine generators, Obayashi Corporation is involved in

improving the site and buildings. Kurihara Kogyo Co. Ltd. is involved in

establishing 15 kilo-volt lines that will initially run south along Norodom

Blvd, and in a later phase branch out across the city.

The power station

renovation is not the only project that the Japanese government is investing in.

The Japanese Embassy gave international and domestic press a tour of three other

sites where large Japanese investment is occurring. $23 million in grant aid is

being spent to rehabilitate the Chroy Changwar bridge. To rebuild National Route

6A, which connects Phnom Penh to Route 6, toward Siem Riep, the first phase will

cost $14 million. In addition, the Japanese government is investing in

improvements at the Sihanouk hospital.

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