Cambodia is currently among the fastest electrifying countries in the world, with coverage reaching 89.1 per cent as of the end of 2017, a newly published World Bank report says.
The Kingdom has made significant progress in providing access to electricity, becoming one of four countries to have electrified at a rate of around eight per cent each year since 2010, said the World Bank’s Energy Progress Report 2019.
Cambodia electrified at a rate of 8.3 per cent annually between 2010-17, the report says.
“In Cambodia, off-grid solutions constitute the fastest means for expanding electricity access in rural areas,” he said.
Sixty-seven per cent of electricity access in Cambodia’s rural areas comes from the national grid, while 31 per cent is from off-grid solutions.
In urban areas, 97 per cent of electricity comes via the national grid, while three per cent is supplied off-grid.
Off-grid electrification solutions, including mini-grids, generators, off-grid solar products and rechargeable batteries, served 14 per cent of the combined populations of Cambodia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya,Myanmar and Rwanda in 2017.
Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC) vice-chairman Ty Thany said on Monday that the supply of electricity had greatly increased over the past five years, making coverage far more widespread in both Cambodia’s urban and rural areas.
The EAC’s 2018 annual report said that electricity supply in Cambodia had, by the end of last year, reached 2,650MW with the Kingdom on target to increase it to 2,870MW this year.
The Kingdom is set to import more energy from neighbouring countries to fulfil its growing demand.
“We are planning for the national grid to cover all villages in Cambodia in 2020, and we are very optimistic of meeting this target,” Thany said on Monday.
Cambodia witnessed regular nationwide power cuts for nearly three months this year – from mid-March to mid-May. The government said it was due to the recent hot weather causing low water levels in hydropower dam reservoirs and affecting the production of electricity.
A representative from Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) – the Kingdom’s electricity supplier – could not be reached for comment on Monday.
However, Thany said blackouts should be a thing of the past as power production from the Kingdom’s hydro-electric dams is almost back to normal as reservoir levels have risen after the rainy season began.
The World Bank’s Energy Progress Report said the number of people without access to electricity dropped to around 840 million, compared to one billion in 2016 and 1.2 billion in 2010. At the end of 2017, the global electrification rate had reached 89 per cent.