Hot Weather Blamed for Phnom Penh’s Blackouts

Rolling blackouts are being conducted in areas of Phnom Penh because the city’s power usage is exceeding its capacity, an official at Electricite du Cambodge said Tuesday.

The EDC official, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said Tuesday that the current stretch of hot weather was to blame for the blackouts.

“The requirement of people using power is higher than our ability…. It is 10 percent higher [than our ability],” he said. “The blackout relates to the hot weather and the electricity generator being broken [from overuse].”

The official said EDC has been cutting power to different areas in Phnom Penh for one to two hours each day to mitigate the problem.

“We cannot cut off the power in any one place for 24 hours…. We cut off for one to two hours in each place,” he said.

The official said that Phnom Penh customers currently demand about 270 megawatts of power, but EDC only has the ability to supply 240 megawatts.

Keo Rattanak, director of EDC, confirmed that the blackouts were due to a lack of supply, but added that other factors were involved.

“We are actually lacking in the supply of power, but the blackouts are also because of maintenance work on our equipment before the coming rainy season and the renovation of the Phnom Penh roads and drainage system,” Mr Rattanak said. “The lack of power supplies is only a small part [of the reason we are having blackouts].”

Oum Ryna, deputy director of the meteorology department at the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, said Tuesday that the weather in April and May was hotter this year than last year.

Mr Ryna said the temperature had risen to 40 degrees in Phnom Penh on Monday, adding that the temperature had been averaging about 41 degrees in Battambang and Siem Reap since the end of April.


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