EDC promises more power, sceptics wait

By Rann Reuy, Phnom Penh Post, 18 June 2013

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A monk walks past an electric power plant in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district last year. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

A coal-fired plant in Preah Sihanouk province will start supplying power to Phnom Penh and areas of two surrounding provinces this week, cutting down on blackouts that have plagued hotels and residents, according to a statement yesterday from state-owned Electricite du Cambodge (EDC).

The announcement, though welcome, was also met with scepticism from business owners who have fought the shortages for months with pricey generators.

“A new notice, maybe it’s true, because they announced it like that, but in reality, we’ll wait and see,” said So Phonnary, executive vice-president for ACLEDA commercial bank, which has 238 branches and offices. The majority use generators.

In April, the EDC sent letters to some of Phnom Penh’s hotels, asking that they switch to the alternative power source between 8am and 9pm that month.

Kim Chhorng, the general manager of the Pacific Hotel Cambodia in Phnom Penh, said he has not received any notice from the EDC about the new supply. He added that he has operated his own generator for nearly two months.

He said that before, he spent about $5,200 per month for electricity from EDC, while the expense rose to nearly $7,000 per month on his own.  The generator “makes a lot of noise” and is difficult to maintain,  he added.

A representative with the Cambodia Hotel Association, which promotes the industry, declined to comment.

Keo Ratanak, EDC’s director-general, said that 50 megawatts of power will be available starting this week, calling it “a step toward the stability for supplying Phnom Penh”.

Ratanak also paid gratitude to hotels for operating generators so EDC could supply homeowners.

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