After Days Without Power, Electricity Restored to Siem Reap

After a storm damaged utility poles in Siem Reap province last week, leading to nearly four days of power outages, officials said Sunday that electricity had been fully restored to the area.

Kong Puthy, Siem Reap provincial director of Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), the state-run electricity supplier, said the outages began on Wednesday night after a storm damaged 26 utility poles along National Road 6 in Kralanh district.

“The electricity was cut off for three days and four nights,” he said. “The electricity is [now] back to normal.”

Mr. Puthy said Siem Reap’s electricity comes solely from transmission lines connected to Banteay Meanchey province, but that EdC was working on a plan to connect Siem Reap to power sources in Battambang province as well.

He declined to provide details about the plan.

Mr. Puthy said that during last week’s outages, EdC used a generator to produce about 10 megawatts of electricity, of the approximately 65 megawatts required by the province.

“This 10 megawatts we prioritized for hospitals and other people,” he said.

Deputy provincial governor Bun Tharith said that while the electricity was also redirected to state institutions and private residences, businesses were widely affected.

“It was an interruption and it affected people’s lives and business,” he said.

Asked how provincial authorities would prevent future major power outages, Mr. Tharith said it was out of their control.

“It is nature. We cannot prevent it,” he said.

Ngov Sengkak , director of the Siem Reap provincial tourism department, said the outages did not negatively impact the local tourism industry.

“It did not affect the tourist sector because they have their own generators and just need the gasoline—it works,” he said.

But Christian de Boer, president of the Cambodia Hotel Association’s Siem Reap chapter, said in an email that the outages did, in fact, affect businesses in Siem Reap City.

“The recent outage has of course affected all sorts of hotels and guesthouses in all kinds of categories,” Mr. de Boer said. “For those hotels lucky enough to have a generator this outage resulted in an increase of fuel related costs whilst others simply had to explain the lack of electricity to their guests.”

He added that hotels saw bookings canceled at the last minute and guests departing sooner than planned.

Seng Suth, chief of Siem Reap City’s Kokchak commune, said the outages also made life difficult for residents in his commune over the past several days.

“We found it difficult to eat, to do our business and travel because it was dark,” Mr. Suth said. “We want the government to have a proper system to have electricity to support villagers.”

(Additional reporting by Chris Mueller)

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