Anlong Veng Power Price Hike Unfair, Villagers Say

Villagers in Oddar Meachey province’s Anlong Veng district have accused an electric company of arbitrarily raising its prices by about 10 percent without local authority’s approval, a district official said Sunday.

Nhek Sok Eang electric company began operating in the district more two years ago and has in the past two months raised its prices from 2,200 riel, or about $0.55, per kilowatt-hour to 2,400 riel per kilowatt-hour, a 9 percent increase, said Tem Sarat, the deputy governor of Anlong Veng. Villagers have informally criticized the price increase but have not submitted an official complaint, which is needed before officials can investigate, he added

“The people want to file a complaint but so far we haven’t seen any documents sent to us,” he said. “We cannot call the company for questions if we don’t receive evidence from people.”

Officials at the company could not be reached yesterday.

Kov Piseth, a villager in Anlong Veng, said that the company had originally promised rates closer to 1,000 riel per kilowatt-hour when it first began installing electricity polls.

“The company has increased the rates arbitrarily,” he said, adding that some villagers are afraid of filing a complaint.

“They do not dare to lodge a complaint and some them do not know how to file a complaint.”

Vath Paranin, secretary-general of Oddar Meanchey provincial government office, said that if villagers are unhappy about the price increase, they need to go through proper procedures.

“Actually, if the price of electricity increased, the people should write a letter to the district governor asking for intervention to lower the price,” he said, adding he had not received any complaints. “The company should not increase the price without the agreement from the authorities and consumers.”

Ke Sam Neng, deputy district police chief, said prices are too high and access to electricity is poor.

“It’s very difficult to consume electricity here. We pay full price but we face a blackouts every day.”

 

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