Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on the Vietnamese government not to increase the price of electricity in Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province, amid speculation that a rise was imminent.
During a speech to graduating students in the province, the Prime Minister urged the governors of the two Vietnamese provinces that Svay Rieng’s power comes from – Long An and Tay Ninh – to encourage their energy minister to consider Cambodian residents.
“Please keep it the same price,” he said.
Hun Sen also encouraged residents to do what they could to reduce their electricity use.
“I think this month we can save electricity. When we don’t use it, we have to shut off the power,” he said.
Leok Hou San, director of the Svay Rieng provincial department of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said electricity coming from Vietnam had stayed at 650 riels per kilowatt since 2006.
“I think that if they increase the price, it will affect some industries,” he said.
Soun Davy, a Svay Rieng market vendor, said 650 riels per kilowatt was manageable, but villagers could not pay more.
“Please keep it the same price. Recently, we have spent a lot of money on electricity every month,” she said.
“If they increase the price of electricity, we will have no ability to use it.”
Soun Davy said her monthly bill was usually 60,000 to 80,000 riel (US$15 to $20), and if a decision was made to increase the price of electricity, she would struggle to get by.
“We will protest [if there is an increase], and we will ask authorities to decrease the price,” she said.
“We operate a business to support our family’s standard of living – we do not operate a business to support electricity companies.”
Cambodia sources about 42 per cent of its electricity from neighbouring countries.
The Kingdom’s first big hydropower dam, the 193-megawatt Kamchay project in Kampot province, opened on December 7. It will begin generating electricity in March.