Assembly Is Asked to Ratify New Electricity Supply Agreements

The government has requested that the National Assembly use its next sitting, which begins Friday, to ratify agreements already struck between Electricite du Cambodge and a Vietnamese company for a supply of up to 220 megawatts of electricity to Cambo­dia, according to a letter sent to the Assembly by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In his letter dated Dec 30, Mr Hun Sen asked lawmakers to endorse two electricity agreements signed with the Vietnamese in 2003 and 2009, which included provisions to develop—now complete—electricity connections from Vietnam to Phnom Penh.

Chan Sodavath, EDC’s deputy director, said yesterday that the link through Takeo and Kandal pro­vinces had been completed and that the government had already guaranteed a deal mentioned in Mr Hun Sen’s letter to buy 1.4 billion kilowatt hours a year at a price between $0.03 and $0.08 per kilowatt hour.

“The government has already provided the guarantee to the Vietna­mese company already, but now we just ask the National As­sembly for ratification,” he said.

Mr Hun Sen’s request has an­gered opposition lawmakers, who say it is too late to ask lawmakers to ratify the agreements, long after the terms had already been completed.

SRP lawmaker and spokesman Yim Sovann said his party’s lawmakers wouldn’t vote to ratify the agreements, as the government had not asked for the Assembly’s ratification prior to signing them with Vietnam.

But he said he expected the CPP-dominated Assembly to continue blindly following government decisions. “We, the SRP, will not vote for the ratification because this guarantee will keep the electricity price high for 30 to 40 years, without price competition from other companies,” Mr Sovann said.

However, EDC business director Chhung Ung said yesterday that the power bought from Vietnam through the two deals is not enough to meet growing de­mand and that EDC still had to use its own generators to supply enough electricity.

“The demand keeps increasing every year because of economic growth. From 2009 to 2010 alone, the demand increased 24 percent,” Mr Ung said.

 

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