Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Power shortages again in dry season, says prime minister

Power shortages again in dry season, says prime minister

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Kingdom can currently generate a total of 1,328MW from hydropower, but low water levels will increase electricity shortages, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday. Heng Chivoan

Power shortages again in dry season, says prime minister

Cambodia will face power shortages again from the end of this year throughout the dry season, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday.

Speaking at the official launch of the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023, Hun Sen said the shortages were due to unprecedented low water levels in the Mekong River leading to hydropower generation dropping below local demand.

The Kingdom can currently generate a total of 1,328MW from hydropower, he said, but the low water levels will increase electricity shortages from 184MW to 687MW.

“I recommend Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem to order the acceleration of the construction and preparation of the 400MW power generators earlier than planned, adding more workers and working day and night,” the prime minister said.

He was referring to the $180 million 200MW generator from Germany and the $175 million 200MW power generator from Finland that the government agreed to purchase in June and July, respectively.

In June, Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) signed an agreement with two Chinese companies to build a $380 million 400MW oil and liquefied natural gas power plant in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district.

Victor Jona, the director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s General Department of Energy, said the plant will be online in May next year.

“This plant will help curb the shortage of electricity during the dry season – when demand is the highest – as our hydropower production is reduced. I appeal to consumers to save power altogether,” said Jona.

To address the power shortages, he said, the government is planning talks late this month or early next month with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to purchase an additional 300MW of power.

Early in September, a cabinet meeting decided that the government will purchase 2,400MW of electricity from Laos.

A lack of electricity supply has become an obstacle to the Kingdom’s manufacturing sector, which faces higher electricity costs compared to neighbouring countries and puts a strain on competitiveness.

Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) vice-president Chan Sokheang said the advance notice could help prepare rice millers to adjust their production lines.

“We need a lot of power. We will meet with the EdC and negotiate so that rice millers [who are] members [of the CRF] can operate. We will find a solution and talk to the rice millers . . . try to grind at night, try to shift schedules around,” Sokheang said.

Last year, Cambodia consumed 2,650MW of electricity, a 15 per cent increase compared to 2017. Of the amount, 442MW was imported from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The rest was produced in Cambodia from coal-fired plants, hydropower dams and solar farms.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from