Banks, Gov’t Make Last Check On Electricity Project Progress

The four institutions financing the Beacon Hill power project in Phnom Penh met with government officials Tuesday, one of the final steps before construction can begin, a company representative said.

Beacon Hill Associates Presi­dent William Garrett said the visit by representatives from the In­ternational Finance Corpora­tion, the Commonwealth Deve­lop­ment Bank of Britain, the French Development Bank and the Import Export Bank of Korea was to allow the banks to make a fi­nal check that the project is on track. The company plans to begin con­struction by the end of this year.

Council of Ministers co-Mi­nister and acting Commerce Mi­nister Sok An met Tuesday with the representatives, according to Council of Ministers adviser Te Doung Tara.

Te Doung Tara said the banks will provide about $50 million, which will improve the capital’s power supply and reliability. The remaining $26 million will come from Beacon Hill, one of Cambo­dia’s largest US investors.

Garrett said his company is pushing the banks to complete financing arrangements by the end of the year, so that construction can begin on the 60-mega­watt plant. The plant should be on line by mid-2000, he added.

The company plans to sell power to the city at a price of $0.08 per megawatt, Te Doung Tara said, and the government hopes power prices for consu­mers will subsequently drop.

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped Electricite du Cambodge is continuing to take back privately ope­rated electric cabins in the city.

An EdC official said the utility hopes to complete the task, which would give it more control over power distribution, by the end of October.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that power prices may be increased after the cabins are under EdC control, but that no decision has yet been made on the size of the hike.

The government last month aborted a decision to raise electricity prices after a public outcry.

 

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