Japan is spending $20 million in grant aid to rehabilitate and upgrade
electrical supply from Phnom Penh's Central Electric site No. 5.
up-graded facilities are planned to begin operations in January 1995. But
Japanese engineers said that there will still be a significant electrical
short-fall for the city even after the planned generators come on
Japanese engineers on the site say that current electrical output
is 18 or 19 MW. Though four 5 MW generators are operating, at least one is down
for repairs at any one time. Cambodian power station managers believe that the
station actually produces 22 MW of power.
Michio Fukuda, a Japanese
engineer at the site, said that a recently completed survey of electricity usage
in Phnom Penh indicates that the demand for power in Phnom Penh is greater than
60 MW of power. Even with the two new Japanese generators, there will still be a
power short-fall for Phnom Penh.
One building at the power station
contains five 5 MW generators. Marked "Made in USSR" in English, they are
covered with dirt and cobwebs. One of the generators is still in the original
packing crate. An intended Soviet upgrade of the power station appeared to be a
victim of the end of the cold war and the dissolution of the Soviet
Japanese engineers said that on their first, survey visit of the
site, it appeared that the Soviets had left very abruptly. "We found a Russian
typewriter with a half-typed page of paper still in it," one said.
of the investment will move these five generators to an area where they can be
cannibalized for spare parts.
In an area behind the current power
station, two new generators will be installed in two phases. Each will be able
to generate 10 MW of power. The new generators will be provided by Japan's
Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, with funding from the Japanese
Fukuda said that in order for power to be made available to
Phnom Penh more efficiently, two areas need attention, the management of the
power stations and the distribution system. Neither are directly part of the
project, he said.
Engineers said that there should be no environmental
concerns about the equipment being renovated. Japanese Embassy first Secretary
Imamura said that the provision of power to the Phnom Penh will have direct
health and business benefits.
Three Japanese companies are involved in
the up-grade effort. In addition to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industry which is
providing the diesel engine generators, Obayashi Corporation is involved in
improving the site and buildings. Kurihara Kogyo Co. Ltd. is involved in
establishing 15 kilo-volt lines that will initially run south along Norodom
Blvd, and in a later phase branch out across the city.
The power station
renovation is not the only project that the Japanese government is investing in.
The Japanese Embassy gave international and domestic press a tour of three other
sites where large Japanese investment is occurring. $23 million in grant aid is
being spent to rehabilitate the Chroy Changwar bridge. To rebuild National Route
6A, which connects Phnom Penh to Route 6, toward Siem Riep, the first phase will
cost $14 million. In addition, the Japanese government is investing in
improvements at the Sihanouk hospital.