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Flooding delays import of electricity from Vietnam

Flooding delays import of electricity from Vietnam

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p14_story229.jpg

Heavy rains are wreaking havoc on construction crews trying to erect power lines in southeastern Cambodia, adding to power shortages

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

Flooding near the border has halted a project to import power from Vietnam, leading to delays.

FLOODING  caused by heavy rains has forced a halt to the construction of new power lines in Takeo province meant to bring much-needed electricity from Vietnam to Phnom Penh, a senior government official told the Post.

"We believe that electricity from Vietnam will now arrive in the second half of 2009 instead of next month, as we had originally planned," said Victor Zona, director-general at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

Zona said only 80 percent of the proposed 110 kilometres of new electricity lines have been built.

Cambodia signed a US$45 million agreement in 2001 to purchase 200 megawatts of electricity from Vietnam.

Under the plan, Vietnam would begin transmitting electricity along the network next month to help meet rapidly rising power demands in the capital.

Keo Rottanak, managing director of Cambodia's state power authority, Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), said the capital faces increasing shortfalls in power supply, with demand now at about 214 megawatts per day.

"I think problems with supply will become worse if the power imports from Vietnam are delayed," he said.

Demand has grown by 20 percent to 25 percent each year in Phnom Penh, in step with population growth and a rise in new business and residential developments, according to an EdC report.

Duong Kimsan, general manager of the Champs Elysees Hotel in Phnom Penh, said he gets only 50 percent of his power supply from EdC.

The balance comes from generators, at a cost of about $20,000 per month, while state electricity costs only $10,000 per month, he said.

"Delays in new power supplies from Vietnam could seriously affect the continued existence of my hotel," he said.

"We need the EdC to be able to satisfy our need as quickly as possible, because producing our own power with generators is too expensive."

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