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Siem Reap sees the light after blackout

Siem Reap sees the light after blackout

The lights were back on across Siem Reap town yesterday morning after a four-day blackout, but not before a number of holidaymakers had switched hotels or fled the area in search of power.

Most of the Kingdom’s top tourist destination was without electricity after a road accident in Banteay Meanchey province on Thursday resulted in 11 power poles being flattened.

In the aftermath, guesthouses and hotels without generators were abandoned, while those prepared saw bookings jump.

Kee Peung, owner of the Golden Banana guesthouse in Siem Reap, was one of those able to keep his  lights, and his air-conditioning, running.

“I was lucky to get a generator. I know of other hotels that lost guests,” he said. “We have had guests moving from other hotels and coming here.”

Peung noted that people selling diesel had upped prices and were profiting from the situation.

“The diesel sellers were making a lot of money. People were queuing up. Shops were selling leads that connect laptops and phones to generators to residents too,” Peung added.

Some travellers left Siem Reap altogether because of the blackout, with many heading to Battambang province.

A staff member at the Battambang Resort in Wat Ko village said that four new guests had checked in as a result of the shortage.

“We had four extra guests this weekend, even though we are four kilometres outside of Battambang [town], and we are an upmarket resort,” she said.

Leung Narin, an administrator at Siem Reap Electricity, said that the backup supply was not enough to maintain regular power throughout the town.

“Our generator power can supply only 10 megawatts per day [of a needed 45 megawatts] to our customers, and we received many complaints from guesthouses and hotels while the power was cut off,” Narin said.

 The last damaged power pole was replaced Sunday, and electricity returned to the town between 11am and 12pm yesterday.

The drivers involved in the collision responsible for the power cut fled the scene.

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