Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay has has criticized the nation’s power authorities for not making any progress on Cambodia’s power problems, even with massive loans from donors.
Electricite Du Cambodge, despite almost $190 million in loans and aid money over the past 10 years, has failed to reform the nation’s power network, and prices for electricity in rural areas remain high, Son Chhay said after a tour of EdC facilities. The tour was also attended by Funcinpec and CPP lawmakers.
“I’m wondering why EdC keeps saying it lost $1 million per year,” he said after the tour.
EdC Deputy Director Ty Norin said that EdC does not lose money, but cannot profit enough to cover the payment of its loans.
EdC earns about $4 million per year, he said, but owes around $5 million per year.
However, he said, over the course of 20 years the company expects to become profitable and provide electricity to more people at the same time.
The ADB and the World Bank would not consider loaning the EdC any money if it thought it was a losing proposition, he said.
The ADB has provided $18.6 million in loans for a rural electrification project so far, he said. And the World Bank is considering an $88 million loan to revamp the country’s electric grid.
EdC oversees the power grid for Phnom Penh and Takmau district, in Kandal province. The rest of the country’s power is supplied by private providers, some of them with nothing more than diesel generators.
In remote regions, families simply attach power cords to car batteries to run their lights, televisions and other utilities.
In February the government created the Electric Authority of Cambodia, but that too, has done little so far to help bring power to the country, Son Chhay said.
Ty Norin is the president, and currently the only man on the authority. The authority plans to appoint a vice president within months, Ty Norin said.
Prices for power, essential to the development in the provinces, remain three to four times as high in rural areas than in Phnom Penh, where residents pay between 350 and 650 riel per kilowatt-hour.