Cambodia’s national electricity provider issued a statement Thursday disputing claims that the electricity being generated by the 246-megawatt Stung Tatai Dam in Koh Kong province is going unused, and saying the dam is only in a “testing phase.”
The statement issued by Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) contradicts assertions made by Ith Praing, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
In an interview earlier this month, Mr. Praing said that since the Tatai dam went online in mid-August, the electricity it produces “has not been distributed” because the area lacks the required infrastructure.
“[T]hese project facilities are being tested and are incomplete as of now,” the EdC statement says, adding that the dam will not officially go online until early next year.
“As such there has not been any ‘unused electricity’ and ‘lost revenue,’” it says.
Contacted Thursday, Mr. Praing said, once again, that the Tatai dam has created a surplus of electricity.
“We have created electricity that is beyond the capacity of the current power grid during the rainy season, and this electricity has not been used yet,” he said.
“We do not yet have a power grid to absorb and distribute [the electricity],” he added.
Keo Rotanak, the director-general of EdC, could not be reached Thursday.
During a speech on October 6 at an international investment conference, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the development of hydropower dams in the country led to an oversupply of energy during this year’s rainy season.
“During the rainy season in 2014, Cambodia has had a surplus of about 246 megawatts [of electricity] that has not been consumed due to lack of a power grid,” Mr. Hun Sen said. He did not name the Tatai dam specifically.
Mr. Praing has also said the government is planning to build a new power grid to deliver electricity from the Tatai dam to consumers, but is waiting on hundred of millions of dollars’ worth of loans to do so.
According to Chea Sitha, the vice president of Brightway Group, which represents a Chinese company that submitted a proposal to build the grid to the Mines and Energy Ministry last month, the government has already lost some $74 million in revenue because it is unable to sell the dam’s electricity.