Hundreds of Phnom Penh residents Tuesday joined Prime Minister Hun Sen and other officials to inaugurate a multimillion-dollar electricity supply system proponents say will bring power to thousands of customers.
The project, which began in April 2000 with nearly $30.75 million in Japanese grant money, was designed to rehabilitate and upgrade electrical capacity for the city and nearby suburbs.
In Takhmau and Chroy Changva districts, Electricite du Cambodge, the national power authority, has already wired power lines and connections to 11,214 consumers, including private homes, factories, hotels and other commercial outlets, according to a news release provided at the opening ceremony held in Russei Keo district. Authorities in Pochentong and Russei Keo districts have connected about 16,000 customers with the new network, officials said.
“The four electrical supply networks will distribute electric power to urban areas of the city that in the past never received any electrical supply,” Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem said.
During his remarks, Japanese Ambassador Gotaro Ogawa said the new supply network is the first step toward economic development for Cambodia.
“I understand that these districts have suffered from poor electrical conditions due to limitations in the electrical distribution network. I am sure that this project will address these problems,” the ambassador said.
Expressing his satisfaction with the new network, Hun Sen thanked its principal benefactors: The Japanese government, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Hun Sen said he foresaw networks like this helping Cambodians to narrow the gap between urban and rural populations.
He said the government must now ensure the new power is affordable.
Nonetheless, he said the new network is a big step forward. “It is truly an important key, which will improve the lives of our people,” Hun Sen said.