C AMBODIA has agreed at Prime Ministerial level to buy electricity from Vietnam, according
to the secretary of state for the Ministry of Energy, Ith Praing.
Technicians are now working out the logistics of what Cambodia hopes will be a medium-term
fix to its problem of power supply.
Praing said the transmission line from Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese border, and a
sub-station, would cost around $35m which he said the Asian Development Bank was
looking to fund.
Praing said in the future the transmission line would be used to send power back
the other way once the slew of hydro-electric projects that Cambodia has planned
One of the sticking points of negotiations was what Vietnam would charge for up to
40 megawatts, Praing said.
Though Vietnam was itself strapped for power, Praing said that Prime Ministerial
talks had resulted in an agreement in principle to the Cambodian request.
In the short-term, Phnom Penh is about to become self-sufficient in power generation.
This month, the first of two five-megawatt thermal plants - funded by Japan - will
come on line. In early April a Finnish-built, ADB-funded plant, able to generate
18.6 megawatts, will be hooked up to the grid.
Progressively coming on stream this year is a 10 megawatt, World Bank-funded plant,
and seven five-megawatt plants funded by Independent Power Producers.
Praing said that by the end of 1996, Phnom Penh would be generating up to 80 megawatts.
By the end of this month, consumers should see an improvement in supply, he said.
Praing said that other longer term plans included building a 400-megawatt natural
gas plant near Sihanoukville, powering a 2,000-hectare industrial complex planned
there within five years.
Praing said that hydro-electricity was the most important long-term option for Cambodian
Hydro dams were planned for Kamchay, the Kirirom rehabilitation, Prek Thnot, Sambo
and Stung Menam, he said.