Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister.

Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) director-general Keo Rattanak will fly to Turkey to negotiate the hiring of the power ship to the Kingdom to supply its needs.

“Mr Keo Rattanak will immediately fly to Turkey to bring a ship with a 200MW capacity to supply [us]. If a price is agreed upon, we’ll hire [the ship] to supply Phnom Penh’s needs for a few years, initially,” he said.

Last week, Hun Sen called on the public and business owners to use their own electric generators temporarily as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC) cannot generate enough electricity to meet current needs due to low water levels in the Kingdom’s power station reservoirs.

He said electricity demands have increased due to a boom in the construction sector.

The Kingdom plans to increase electric power supply to 2,870.65MW next year, up from 2,650.26MW this year, according to EAC’s 2018 annual report.

The report shows that despite the increase in the planned power supply, the Kingdom is set to import the same volume of energy from its neighbouring countries as in last year and 2017 – 442.5MW.

Of this, 277MW will be imported from Vietnam, 135.5MW from Thailand and 30MW from Laos. With the plan, the government expects increased electric power consumption in the Kingdom this year to reach 10,807.71GWh from 9,307.44GWh last year.

The EDC also signed an agreement last week with Laos for a 200MW increase in electricity supply starting in 2021.

As for households using over 200kWh per month, electricity costs will fall from 770 riel (19 US cents) last year to 740 riel this year and 730 riel next year.

The prime minister claimed that importing the power ship from Turkey will not affect electricity supply costs.

“Even if it is a little bit expensive to buy [electricity] from Turkey, citizens’ electricity costs will not be impacted,” he said.

According to the plan, Cambodia will purchase electricity at a cost of 14 US cents per kWh, which is a three-cent mark-up from local hydropower plants – a cost that the state will subsidise.

Cambodia Constructors Association general manager Chiv Sivpheng welcomed hiring the power ship.

“Growth of the construction sector will reflect on the need for electricity. Electricity shortages pose a challenge for us and the EDC has a duty to properly meet the growth in demand. This is important to promote the country’s development,” he said.