Cambodia electricity shortage cripples small businesses

Large parts of Cambodia have had to endure hours of daily power outages after the country's main provider said it was unable to meet demand due to dry weather. Small businesses are suffering the most.

It’s hot and humid in KT Beauty, a salon owned by Morn Sokunthea. The red-and-black chairs are empty. The fans don’t work and neither do the lights. Thirty eight-year-old Sokunthea hasn’t seen a single customer today, and she doesn’t expect that to change soon.

“Without electricity I can’t even blow-dry hair after washing it,” she says. “Doing make-up doesn’t work either because with this heat, and without a fan, my customers will get sweaty and the make-up will slide off.”

Sokunthea is one of the many small business owners in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, who have experienced the impact of an ongoing electricity crisis. For nearly a month, Cambodia’s electricity supplier, Electricite Du Cambodge (EDC), has stopped supplying power to large parts of the country, saying it was unable to meet the high demand.

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