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Residents left in dark again

petrol generator
A phone shop in Kab Ko market uses a petrol generator during a power outage in Phnom Penh yesterday. Hong Menea

Residents left in dark again

Residents in the vicinity of Kab Ko market in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district found themselves fumbling in the dark yet again yesterday on the second consecutive day of hours-long power outages.

According to locals, electricity to the street failed around noon on Wednesday and was restored at about 10pm that night, only to fail again around noon yesterday, driving down trade and serving as a general headache for residents and business owners alike.

“The electricity is very important to make a living,” jewellery vendor Chan Vanta said. “I need light for my business as a gold seller to attract the customers, but for two days there have been few customers coming to look … and buy some jewellery.”

Sitting in a still, dark, empty dining room, the owner of the usually popular Phsar Kabko restaurant agreed.

“After the electricity was cut … there were fewer customers,” he said. “Right now the days are very hot, and customers need a fan.”

The restaurateur, who asked to be identified only as Mean, said he had been forced to resort to iceboxes to keep his produce and drinks cold after the power outage killed his refrigerators, but the run on ice that ensued after the outage made it hard to find.

The blackout was also causing problems on the home front, resident Sam That said.

“We need a fan, air conditioning and light to live, because it is too hot, and we need electricity for my daughter to study, use the internet and watch TV,” she said. “We heard about an EdC [Electricité du Cambodge] release, but we can’t do anything.”

An official at EdC who declined to be named would not comment in detail, but offered a statement pertaining to construction in Por Sen Chey and Meanchey districts, among others. Due to interconnected power grids, work being done there could have an effect elsewhere in the city, the official said.

“The EdC would like to inform the public that EdC will … remove some lines for road expansion construction, so [power in] some areas in Phnom Penh will be off until 14 June,” the statement reads. “We hope that the public will be aware and forgive us.”

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