Big Bills Spur ECCC To Cut Electricity Use

The Khmer Rouge tribunal is spending about $11,000 a month on electricity and in a bid to reduce its power bill has embarked on a conservation campaign, court officials said.

Thursday, the administration distributed a written appeal to court employees, asking them to do their bit to ease electricity consumption, three staff members said.

According to the circular, em­ploy­­­ees have been asked to turn off their air conditioners when they are not necessary, and to shut windows when air conditioning is on.

The cost-saving attempts come as the court faces an imminent budgetary crisis. The Cambodian side of the court is expected to run out of funds around April. Donors have been presented with a $170 million budget request, but none has yet committed funds publicly.

Tribunal Public Affairs Chief Helen Jarvis said Sunday the court is trying to do its best to conserve power, especially given the high cost of electricity in Cambodia.

“Yes, the bill is about $11,000 a month,” she said. “In the interest of the environment and of reducing costs, people have been asked to reduce their electricity consumption. The court is a very expensive operation.

“To have offices for 300 people and a court—the costs are enormous, for all the computers, the servers, the ceiling fans, whatever. You can imagine what the electrical costs are,” she said.

The court has also tried to trim costs by unscrewing light bulbs in the hallways, one staff member claimed on condition of anonymity.

“Every other light bulb is un­screwed. You don’t notice why, but you keep getting plunged into murky darkness,” he said. “It’s completely ridiculous. It’s real penny pinching.”

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