Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Capital power cuts to end by 2012 says EAC

Capital power cuts to end by 2012 says EAC

Capital power cuts to end by 2012 says EAC

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Tracey Shelton

EDC is trying to unravel power issues in Cambodia.

The Electricity Authority of Cambodia released new long-term projections for ending

electricity shortages, predicting that by 2012 all residences in Phnom Penh will

have enough electricity for normal consumption.

But in the rural areas of most of Cambodia, it will take years longer.

According to Ith Praing, secretary of state at Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy

(MIME), 85 percent of the population in the capital city has power, but nationwide

the figure is 17 percent.

The government expects that all villages in Cambodia will have an electricity connection

by 2020 and 70 percent of households will have electricity by 2030.

In an effort to alleviate national power shortages, Cambodia has been getting electricity

for its northern provinces from neighboring Thailand and Vietnam where electricity

is much cheaper than in Cambodia.

In Phnom Penh private companies and generators supplement the short supply available

from Electricité Du Cambodge.

"We have a problem with the electricity shortage," said Theng Marith, an

official at the regulatory department of the Electricity Authority of Cambodia. He

said Phnom Penh needs another 40 megawatts of electricity to supply a growing population

that expects unlimited use of power.

Marith said that the power consumption has been soaring in Cambodia from year to

year. In 2005 consumption was 160 megawatts. In 2006 it rose to 200 megawatts. In

2007 it was 220 megawatts.

EDC, according to a company official, has capacity to supply roughly 200 megawatts

for the residents in Phnom Penh in the rainy season.

But in the hot season coming up demand will leap to 240 megawatts.

"So we have to cut off some blocks at times," he said. "The power

demand is non-stop," he said.

He said EDC alone produces 35 megawatts.

Praing, at the Industry Ministry, said that in Phnom Penh three companies supply

additional power to EDC.

EDC gets 45 megawatts each from two private companies, Cambodia Electricity Private

and Khmer Electric Power each provide 45 megawatts and Malaysia's Cambodia Utility

Co. provides 30 megawatts.

"We need power sources from neighboring countries," Praing said.

Two other private companies are now installing poles and transmission lines from

Vietnam to Phnom Penh via Takeo province. They expect to complete work by late 2008

or early 2009.

Under agreements with Thailand and Vietnam since 2002, provinces along the borders

such as Mondulkiri, Kratie, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Kampot and Kep have been supplied

by connections from Vietnam.

The provinces to the west and northwest such as Banteay Meanchey, Oddor Meanchey,

Pailin, Koh Kong and Battambang were also connected with low voltage from Thailand.

Last November high voltage electricity began coming across the border from Thailand

to Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Siem Reap.

Praing said the price of electricity from the neighboring countries is cheaper than

local supply, at just 650 riel ($0.16) per kWh, while the local price is between

700 riel ($0.17) to 2,000 riel ($0.50) per kWh. "We have a long term agreement

to buy their electricity for 18 to 25 years," Praing said.

On December 29, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam signed an energy cooperation agreement

aiming to provide electricity from Tay Ninh province of Vietnam to Krek and T'bong

Khmom districts in Kampong Cham province.

Another line is from Champasak province of Laos to Stung Treng.

The $18 million project will start in 2008 and is expected to be completed by 2011.

According to Prime Minister Hun Sen, the government is spending roughly $100 million

per year to subsidize electricity.

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