Economic growth in Cambodia is constrained by a lack of appropriate policy for electricity access and energy security. Only 50 per cent of Cambodia’s population had electricity access in 2016. Remarkably, by 2019, the number of households connected to grid electricity grew to almost 80 per cent. The challenge, however, remains for rural areas where certain remote areas have almost no electricity.
Cambodia’s Power Sector Strategy 1999–2016 focuses on household energy security. Its objectives are to provide an adequate supply of energy throughout Cambodia at reasonable prices and to ensure a reliable and secure electricity supply for the expansion of Cambodia’s economy. But this Strategy has had limited success. From March to June 2019, there was a huge shortage of 400 megawatts of electricity during the dry season. This was due to weather conditions, which produced a low water level in a hydropower reservoir. Such a large shortage demonstrates the weak capacity of Electricity of Cambodia (EDC) to manage a vulnerable power supply mix.