The wave of power cuts to hit Phnom Penh’s homes and businesses will continue until mid-March as Electricite du Cambodge rations the city’s electricity supply which has been outstripped by growing demand, company officials said.
“It’s off and on because we lack the power supply,” EdC Director General Tam Kim Vin said on Friday. “We turn on for two hours in one area and off in the other. We have to switch back and forth.”
Phnom Penh currently needs 120 megawatts of electricity to service around 150,000 EdC customers, but the state-run power company can only provide 110 megawatts, Tam Kim Vin said, adding last year alone 22,000 new customers signed up to the city’s electrical grid.
Because of a lack of rainfall, a recently completed multi-million dollar hydroelectric power plant in Kompong Speu’s Kirirom mountains, which was supposed to provide the city with 18 megawatts of power, has been unable to function, Tam Kim Vin said.
But respite for Phnom Penh’s sweltering residents is due by March 15 when the privately-owned Khmer Electricity Power company is scheduled to begin operations with diesel-fueled generators capable of producing 32 megawatts, he added.
Owned by well-know local businessman, Kok An, the company will be ready by the March launch date if a supply of high-quality diesel from Singapore can be assured for the company.
Between 130,000 and 150,000 liters of diesel will be required daily, Kok An said.
Blaming well-off families for the shortage, Daun Penh district resident Pen Koy, 32, said Friday that each day this week power to his home was cut two to three times, and each time for up to two hours.
“I think EdC must not allow rich people overuse the power. If I was EdC, I would limit power to rich families who use so much,” he said.