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Vietnam to supply Phnom Penh with electricity

Vietnam to supply Phnom Penh with electricity

PHNOM Penh's shortage of electricity could ease early next year when the municipality begins purchasing extra power from Vietnam, Ith Praing, secretary of state for the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, told the Post Wednesday.

"We will buy 200 megawatts from Vietnam to supply our people in Phnom Penh," he said. "But the supply will [still] fall short of demand."

Unreliable electricity supplies and skyrocketing energy costs remain a major concern for businesses in the capital, where power outages are increasingly frequent in certain areas of the city.

According to a recent research paper from the United States-based Progressive Policy Institute, electricity in Cambodia costs about four times more than in neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand.

The additional electricity will be imported via a new power link running from Vietnam through Svay Rieng and Kandal provinces to Phnom Penh.

Construction of the link will finish in March 2009, Ith Praing said.

"The new supply will give us enough electricity for Phnom Penh for two years," he said.

Ith Praing said additional energy will be available in 2010 when the Khamchay dam comes online. A second dam in Sihanoukville will further boost supplies in 2011.

Electricity consumption nationwide has increased 12 percent per year, Ith Praing said, adding that consumption in Phnom Penh has risen 20 percent annually.

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