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New electricity plant surges ahead

New electricity plant surges ahead

A project to build a new 18.6 Megawatt power generation plant in Phnom Penh took

a major leap forward on Oct 27 when over 600 tons of equipment, including three new

6.2 MW diesel engine generators, were off-loaded at the Phnom Penh port and delivered

to the plant site near the National Stadium.

"The progress is very quick at the site," said Men Sarun, deputy director

at Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) which is in charge of the expansion effort. Sarun

said that the power generation facility may even open ahead of the scheduled completion

date of May 16, l996.

The power plant is being constructed by a joint venture consortium of the Wartsila

Diesel Group of Finland and the Marubeni Corporation of Japan.

Wartsila, with annual revenues of around $6 billion, is the world's largest maunfacturer

of mid-size power equipment.

Wartsila/Marubeni Site Manager Turkka Rautajurri said the shipment of power equipment

was the single largest load ever handled by the Phnom Penh Post authorities.

Funding for the effort has been provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the

form of a $17.5 million 40-year, soft loan to the Royal Government. The Wartsila-Marubeni

Consortium was selected to carry out the project from among 24 bids reviewed by the

ADB. Of the total ADB loan, $14 million is being used to construct the new "C6"

power station, while the remainder will be used to rehabilitate part of Phnom Penh's

electricity distribution system.

When completed, EDC's electricity generation capacity will increase by 77.5 percent.

Current capacity is 24 Megawatts while total demand in Phnom Penh is estimated at

60 Megawatts, with an increase in 15 percent projected for 1996.

Wartsila/Marubeni will initiate an on-site training program for the ten Cambodian

electrical and mechanical engineers who will maintain and operate the plant once

completed. At present, they have 150 workers involved in the overall C6 plant construction.

"I hope that by mid 1996 we will have enough power to supply all the city,"

said Sarun referring to EDC's overall plan to increase the capital's power generation

capabilities.

In a related development, Sarun said that beginning in January 1996 the EDC would

begin to phase out the current system of using private wholesalers of electricity

whereby each "cabine" is responsible for selling power and collecting the

revenues.

Sarun said the phase out plan would be carried out over the next two years and would

result in greater effeciency for the overall electric system in Phnom Penh. At present,

cabine managers charge a variety of prices to consumers ranging from 350 riels per

kilowatt hour to, in some cases, 700 riels per kwh.

Sarun also said that once the EDC is capable of producing an adequate supply of power

for the needs of Phnom Penh that the government would ban the use of private generators

because of "environmental reasons." He estimates that, at present, 60 percent

of the power consumed in the capital is produced by private generators.

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