State-run electricity utility Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) has inaugurated a new substation and 230kV high-voltage transmission line in Tbong Khmum province as part of the government’s efforts to promote electrical-grid stability for the public and industries.

EDC director-general Keo Rattanak told The Post that the launch of the new substation followed successful tests completed on January 14. Supervision of the project was handled by EDC engineers with assistance from French technical advisers.

“The operation of this substation is the fruit of good cooperation between Cambodia and the French government via Agence Francaise de Developpement,” he said.

Rattanak noted that primary construction of the 230kV transmission line was realised by collaboration between Cambodia and China with the common goal of developing the power grid and electricity sector. The substation was built by the China National Heavy Machinery Corporation (CHMC).

“This is the first substation to be operational in Tbong Khmum province. In the past, the electricity supply in this province was brought from Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and imported from Vietnam,” he said.

The substation will supply Tbong Khmum province as a whole and also distribute to Prey Veng province through the 230kV transmission line, which will conduct first-phase operations at 115kV. It will also connect to Svay Rieng province via existing 115kV high-voltage transmission lines, according to Ratanak.

“The substation will sustain a more stable supply of electricity for the local people,” he said.

Victor Jona, director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Energy, told The Post that the new substation was connected to all power plants in Preah Sihanouk province via the local grid.

To date, the government has commissioned 34 substations across the country.

“The new substation is part of a plan to expand the national transmission network lines within the national framework which will contribute to the stabilisation of power supplied to the public, industries and other services,” he said.

At the end of last year, a $380 million 400MW heavy fuel oil power facility in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district was completed and is ready to ramp up production once demand is high enough.

Nationwide electricity consumption fell last year by 10 to 12 per cent due to interruptions of industries stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak. The greatest impact on consumption was seen in the garment sector where industrial production accounts for more than 40 per cent of total consumption, according to Jona.

Prior to the pandemic, EDC had forecast electricity demand in Cambodia to reach a record high of 2,500MW by 2021.