People Demand Answers Over Large Water Bills

Forty Phnom Penh residents who saw dramatic increases on their monthly bills—some by as much as four times the usual amount—demanded an explanation on Wednesday from the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.

Nin Chantrea, the authority’s deputy director-general, admitted that up to 80 percent of the residents of Tuol Kok district’s Boeng Kak I commune were affected by a persistent billing issue.

She said her staff repeatedly misread residential meters over the past year, and occasionally guessed at water usage when meters were inaccessible.

“The other problem is water pipes leaking,” she said.

At year’s end, agents double-checked usage and residents were charged for any water for which they had not yet paid, Ms. Chantrea said.

Van Sinuon, a commune resident who was among those who went to complain, said his bill had leaped from 30,000 riel, or about $7.50, for a typical month to 120,000 riel, or about $30, last month.

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