Demand for electricity has dropped to 1,700MW from 2,000MW in 2019 and has yet to post a significant pick-up even as factories and hotels in designated yellow zones resume business, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Nearly 100 factories have reopened after a short hiatus due to the government's recent lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, according to a Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training spokesman.

Victor Jona, director-general for Energy, told The Post that to ensure balanced supply and consumption and respond to “economic problems”, a 400MW fuel oil power plant in Kandal province's Lvea Em district could be powered down, as could some of the turbines at hydropower dams.

However, he said, operations could resume to full capacity if need be.

"Electricite du Cambodge [EdC] has control centres across the country, so when demand drops, they can order private power stations to shut down to meet demand without oversupply," he said.

Labour ministry spokesman Heng Sour, on May 3 told a special forum on National Television of Cambodia (TVK),

Heng Sour, a spokesman for the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training, said in a special forum on National Television of Cambodia on May 3 that 95 factories in yellow zones had reopened and 15,000 workers had gone back to work. This, he said, accounted for “30 per cent of the workforce”.

Mao Sothea, founder and managing director of SHE AcroChem Co Ltd, an agricultural exporter, noted that power supply was seemingly sustainable following the February 20 community outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

"During this period, electricity consumption wasn't as seriously disrupted as it had been in the dry season last year, probably because some companies and factories were shut down, leading to reduced electricity consumption.

"Energy is very important for factories that operate in indispensable production chains. On the contrary, interruptions in electricity service hinders production," she said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 3 signed a resolution to end the lockdown in Phnom Penh and Takmao at the outset of May 6, but Phnom Penh municipal and Kandal provincial administrations reserve the right to implement other measures in their jurisdictions, as the situation dictates, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.