Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Villagers protest hike in electricity expense




Villagers protest hike in electricity expense

Villagers protest hike in electricity expense

More than 60 villagers from Kampong Cham province’s Stung Trang district staged a protest on Monday at Arak Tnort commune hall, demanding answers for a massive price hike that has accompanied the installation of electricity meters ahead of a planned switchover to state-provided power.

Phan Phann, 58, Bek Antung village chief, told the Post yesterday that protesters were demanding a solution, as the new meters were racking up kilowatts at dizzying speeds.

“The meters move super fast, even when we’re not using electricity,” Phann said.

Private company Seng Try has been providing electricity to Bek Antung village for several years. The villagers claimed the price has sharply increased each year, rising nearly 10 cents per kilowatt-hour to 78 cents in the past two months alone.

“[Seng Try] increased the price and now the meters fly; they do not work normally,” Phann said.

A 62-year-old woman who declined to be named said many of the villagers are afraid to protest, fearing the company will shut off their electricity.

Authorities announced a few months ago that they will provide state-owned electricity starting in July, but the project has been stalled because installing the necessary electrical poles could potentially displace villagers in the area.

Commune chief Ros Vireth said he took 10 of the electrical meters to Electricite du Cambodge in Phnom Penh for examination yesterday.

“We had the meters checked and nothing is wrong with them. We suggest the villagers use them as normal,” he said.

The village’s old meters were replaced two months ago in order to handle the switchover to state-supplied power, and the price was set to decrease to 41 cents per kilowatt-hour, he added.

In order to keep up with the state-owned electricity, "the meters work somewhat faster. We will explain this to the villagers,” Vireth said.

During a protest last month in Kandal, protesters demanded state-owned electricity, claiming the private company they used charged much more than the state. Their protest was cut short when a commune chief told them the private company’s contract would end in just two years.

MOST VIEWED

  • Man Covid-19 positive after Thailand trip

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday reported the third Covid-19 case in less than two weeks, bringing the total to 125. The man, a 26-year-old from Tbong Khmum province's Tbong Khmum district, arrived at the O'Beichoan border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province on Thursday. He is

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered