Capital’s Blackouts To Last Until at Least June

Internet cafes erupt with profanity and doorsteps on commercial streets rattle with the sound of small diesel generators as the daily blackouts roll across the capital, de­spite promises from the Ministry of In­dustry to end the power cuts.

Two generators providing an ad­ditional 10 megawatts of power for Phnom Penh that went online in February were supposed to narrow the gap between supply and growing demand, Minister of Industry Suy Sem said at the time.

But the blackouts have only be­come worse, and Suy Sem said Wednesday that new and im­proved power plants totaling 70 mega­watts would not be online until late June or early July.

“We lack about ten megawatts of power in Phnom Penh, so that’s why [Electricite du Cambodge] turns off electricity here and there on a sharing schedule,” Suy Sem said of the persisting blackouts.

Chhung Ung, director of EdC’s commercial department, said 70 additional megawatts should stop the blackouts.

In the coming months, CPP ty­coon Senator Ly Yung Phat’s plant in Dangkao district will produce 45 megawatts, and CPP tycoon senator Kok An will double his plant’s con­tribution to 30 megawatts, Chhung Ung said.

An additional plant, run by Gold­en Energy Power, will add 10 more, he said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Keo Remy called for the government to reduce corruption and cumbersome bureaucracy to at­tract foreign investment in the pow­er sector.

“In stores there are a lot of things that need to be frozen 24 hours a day, so when the power is cut those things go bad,” he said.

San Kimsan, 45, said her beauty parlor in Tuol Kok district also suffers losses because of the blackouts.

“The government should make sure people get 24 hours of power.”


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