Electricity Company Says Weather to Blame for Exorbitant Bills

State power provider Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) released a statement Tuesday claiming that soaring electricity bills were due to hot weather, and not because of any changes in the rates being charged to customers.

“In April, May and June, it is the hot season, so electricity users always use more kilowatts,” said the statement, which is signed by EdC director-general Keo Ratanak.

Workers unload flowers outside Electricite du Cambodge's new headquarters in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Workers unload flowers outside Electricite du Cambodge’s new headquarters in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“There is no plan to cheat the customers by the government,” it continues. “If customers are wondering about power use on their electricity meter, they can call the office to make a complaint.”

In Phnom Penh, Ean Savuth, deputy head of the EdC’s branch in Meanchey district’s Chak Angre Krom commune, said his office had fielded significantly more complaints this year than last.

“We received complaints from customers about their electricity meters and the drastic increase of electricity bills,” he said.

“I agree that electricity bills have increased everywhere in Phnom Penh and in the provinces,” he added. “Even at my house, it has increased.”

The EdC’s statement comes as questions over such bills have been mounting, both online and on the ground.

At the EdC’s headquarters near Wat Phnom on Friday, university student Mon Sokha, who rents an apartment in the city, said the increase in his electricity bills had been too steep to ignore.

“If it was a small increase, I would not come to complain, but it is a big increase,” Mr. Sokha said before filing a complaint with the EdC.

“I usually pay about $112 per month, but these last two months, I paid about $185 while using the same appliances,” he said.

Tola Chea and Chea Nea, who moved to Cambodia from Australia last year and own businesses in Phnom Penh, said their electricity bill last month was about 25 percent higher than usual.

Mr. Chea said that without access to their electricity meters, which are mounted high on poles, it was all but impossible for them to determine whether they were using more electricity, or being charged more for it.

Ms. Nea said their latest electricity bill was comparable to what they paid for power in Australia.

“If you compare the costs to the salary of someone from this third world country, that’s a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?”

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