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Protest follows failure to lower electric rates

Protesters hold placards during a demonstration in Svay Rieng province on Monday, calling for a decrease in the price of electricity. ANN
Protesters hold placards during a demonstration in Svay Rieng province on Monday, calling for a decrease in the price of electricity. ANN

Protest follows failure to lower electric rates

Citizens in two communes in Svay Rieng and another in Prey Veng yesterday protested their high power bills after a local electric company failed to lower its price to 800 riel per kilowatt-hour as promised.

Kraol Kor Electricity, which services several communes in the two provinces, last May promised to lower electricity costs from over 1,000 riel per kwh to 800 riel starting in March. Provincial authorities echoed the promise at the time. However, the demonstrators said that this has not happened.

“The director of the provincial authority . . . did not do it, therefore people started to protest,” said Ros Sophal, a commune police chief.

Suth Kimchan, a district official in Svay Chrum district, said he had not yet received a clear answer from provincial authorities in Svay Rieng about the price. Provincial authorities told him only that the company was still installing power lines.

Yin Viseth, director of supply at Electricité du Cambodge, said that some of its provincial officials went to the protest to explain that they are powerless to lower the price as the smaller Kraol Kor grid is not directly connected to the national grid.

Kraol Kor and Svay Rieng officials could not be reached.

Meanwhile, storms on Monday knocked out power in most of Stung Treng, where electricity is imported from Laos, but connection was restored at 3:30pm yesterday. Provincial spokesman Men Kong blamed a tree that fell on power cables in Laos.

Additional reporting by Jack Davies

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