Plan for Rural Electricity Expected Next Month

The Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy and donor agencies expect the government to issue an official strategy next month for implementing rural electrification.

A three-day conference last week ended with no clear funding plan.

Ty Norin, deputy director of the state-run utility Elect­ricite du Cambodge, said the government has $25 million from the World Bank and $5 million from the Global Environment Funds to help pay for the project.

Consultants have estimated it will cost $1.14 billion over the next 30 years to bring power to 70 percent of Cambodia.

Only about 7 percent of the rural population has access to a reliable electricity supply. Another 45 percent has less dependable battery-powered electricity.

Ty Norin said the conference developed five major strategies. They include:

• An annual 9 percent increase in the number of households with reliable electricity.

• Encouraging EdC and private electricity producers to find new sources of hydroelectric and solar energy.

• Training courses provided by the government for 600 existing rural electricity enterprises.

• Forming collectives in remote areas that would invest their own money in partnership with government or donor funds.

• Government approval of joint-venture licenses between private investors and local collectives.

The conference was funded by the World Bank.



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