Source: The Cambodia daily / May 4, 2016 by
Power went out for more than a full day in Stung Treng province starting on Monday afternoon due to a storm in Laos, officials said yesterday, only worsening the situation for residents coping with scorching temperatures.
Strong winds accompanying a storm in Laos’ Champasak province on Monday afternoon damaged a transmission line that serves as the main electricity source for Stung Treng, according to Men Kung, a spokesman for the provincial administration.
“Electricity was cut off at about 1 p.m. [on Monday] until 3 p.m. [yesterday] because of the storm and winds which hit Laos,” Mr. Kung said. “It affected people—many had no electricity to use. But some areas were not affected, like restaurants and hotels that use generators.”
Mr. Kung said the outage had led to a loss of income for small business owners who could not operate during the period.
Han Roeun, chief of Thala Barivat commune, located in the district of the same name, said the power cut also posed a health risk.
“It has affected health now that the weather is so hot because we couldn’t use fans,” Mr. Roeun said. “I took a bath three or four times a day because it was so hot while the electricity was cut off.”
Tun Leang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said the government purchased “between 2 and 5 MW” of electricity from Laos at any given time but would eventually transition to a local hydropower dam for power in the area.
“People [in Stung Treng] will have enough electricity for consumption when the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam is finished,” Mr. Leang said of a controversial infrastructure project well underway in the province.
Mr. Leang said that even when the dam was completed—it remains unclear when that will be—Cambodia would continue to purchase electricity from abroad as backup. “To assure energy security, we can’t cut off from other countries.”
With Cambodia meeting the bulk of its energy demand through foreign suppliers, large-scale blackouts are not uncommon. In November, an hourslong blackout swept the country due to problems at a power station in Vietnam.