The government will invest some $50 million to reduce electricity tariffs by $0.01 per kilowatt-hour for the industrial and agricultural sectors from this month, Ministry of Mines and Energy senior official Victor Jona said on Sunday.

Jona, who is the director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Energy, told The Post: “The reduction in electricity tariffs will contribute to boosting Cambodia’s competitiveness in manufacturing.

“The tariffs will be reduced from 19.7 cents to 18.7 cents this year and the new electricity bills will be sent to consumers at the end of February,” he said.

Cambodia produced a total of 11,261GWh of power last year, up 21 per cent from 2018’s 9,427GWh, a ministry report said.

The Kingdom sold about 10,885GWh of electricity to more than 1.1 million consumers last year.

Broken down into categories, the commercial sector accounted for 33.40 per cent of consumers, industrial 10.99 per cent and households 18.75 per cent, the report said.

The Cambodia Rice Federation’s more than 300 rice millers are set to receive a huge positive impact, despite the relatively low price cut, its secretary-general Lun Yeng said.

He told The Post last month that the move will reduce production costs and help boost the production chain in the rice sector and maintain competitiveness.

“We welcome the good news. We want stability and quality in electricity supply for the rice sector, which will increase our competitiveness,” Yeng said.

He said some of his federation’s rice millers paid between $30,000 and $40,000 in monthly electricity fees.

Cambodia plans to invest more than $100 million by year’s end to reduce electricity tariffs in a move to spur economic growth and relieve the financial burden on businesses and households, Electricite du Cambodge director-general Keo Ratanak said in November.

He said the government had already spent some $95 million to reduce tariffs last year while EdC drew in some $50 million in revenue in 2018 through the sale of electricity.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Ministry of Mines and Energy on Tuesday, secretary of state Ty Norin said the private sector has made significant contributions to the electricity sector, which is key in accelerating the government’s development goals.

As of the end of last year, he said, investment in the Kingdom’s electricity sector was worth $6.1 billion.

This, he said, is in response to rising electricity demands and is in line with government goals to reduce its cost for both commercial and residential users.

“Without private sector investment, the state would have needed to invest until 2056 to achieve the amount amassed since 2006.

“Private sector investment has greatly accelerated electricity sector development,” said Norin.

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