A new settlement for villagers displaced by the soon-to-be-finished Lower Sesan II dam in Stung Treng province was connected to the electrical grid yesterday, despite the continued refusal of more than 100 households to relocate.
According to the Stung Treng Provincial Electricity Authority’s announcement yesterday, an electrical line was connected from the dam to a transmission network at the new site in Srekor. More than 300 ethnic Lao households are being forced to relocate from the Sesan’s reservoir area due to flooding when the dam goes online later this year.
The announcement warned locals to take caution after the electricity is connected.
“The villagers living along the line, please be informed and careful by refraining from climbing or building [anything] near the electricity line in order to avoid danger and accidents,” the statement read.
According to Stung Treng Provincial Hall spokesman Men Kong, the electricity is not currently generated by the dam but transmitted from neighbouring Laos, at a rate of over 900 riel per kilowatt.
“It is the first line, and electricity linked for the villagers at Srekor, and they must pay for the electricity costs,” he said.
Once one of the five turbines of the dam are in operation, the price will decrease to around 600 riel per kilowatt, he added.
Kong said that authorities are still negotiating with 117 families from Srekor and Kbal Romea communes who are refusing to leave.
“They do not allow us to inspect and measure their property, but we will keep talking to them,” he said.
Srekor Commune Chief Siek Mekong welcomed the electrical lines but criticised the decision to connect the electricity when an agreement with the households had yet to be reached.
“The people still do not accept the compensation, but electricity is connected already. It is not right,” he said.