The government is poised to reduce the price of electricity by 40 riel ($0.01) per kilowatt-hour for the industrial sector next month, said Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem on Tuesday.

Insiders lauded the announcement but called on the government to improve the quality of electricity supply.

Sem said the move will enhance competitiveness in the industrial sector. “In accordance with government policy, we’ve decided to cut 40 riel per kilowatt-hour off the price of electricity for the sake of investment in our country’s industrial sector.

“Last year we reduced the price by 80 riel per kWh. We vow to continue reducing the price little by little,” he said.

The Kingdom currently generates most of its energy through hydropower dams and coal-fired plants, accounting for around 48 per cent and 47 per cent of power production, respectively.

Some 15 per cent of electricity demand is met by imports from neighbouring countries.

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 on Thursday 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.

Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem said Cambodia will consume 2,214MW during that dry season, 414MW more than last year, but the fact that reservoirs are almost full now ensures the country suffers no chronic blackouts such as those experienced last year.

Federation of Association for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia president Te Taingpor said the move shows that the government has control of electricity stability, which allows it to cut the price.

However, he noted that the price remains higher than in neighbouring countries. “Small and medium-sized enterprises stand to benefit greatly. However, I am concerned that the price of electricity is still higher than it should be,” he said.