PM: Cambodia Must Fulfill Its Energy Needs

Prime Minister Hun Sen called on Cambodians to rise to the challenge of providing sufficient electricity to power the country Tuesday, at once thanking donors for their help and criticizing their long-term projects for failing to address immediate needs.

“We cut off the electricity in random places,” Hun Sen said of the mon­ths of blackouts that Phnom Penh residents have endured. He spoke at the Technology In­sti­tute of Cam­bodia.

“Certain financial institutions and foreign friends would say that these power supply projects should be put in place in this and that time when the capital is mobilized. But we need pow­er today,” Hun Sen said.

He added that Cambodia would have to be more self-sufficient to satisfy increasing power demands un­til a massive project to import power from Vietnam is completed in 2008.

“We cannot live on oxygen through someone else’s nose,” Hun Sen said. “Don’t forget that we have two nostrils and one mouth, so if the nostrils are shut then we can breathe through the mouth.”

He added that although foreign do­nors may not fully appreciate the problem, their help would be welcome.

“They don’t come and sleep through our power cuts. They just come and go,” Hun Sen said. But, he added, “if our friends help us out, we appreciate their support.”

Three CPP senator tycoons have been given contracts to provide power coverage to the capital.

The national development planning strategy for 2006 to 2010, which was approved by the Na­tion­al As­­sembly Tuesday, also plans for cheaper electricity by the end of the dec­ade.

Planning Minister Chhay Than re­ferred questions about electricity sup­ply to the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

Ith Praing, secretary of state at the ministry, said he hopes in­vest­ors will build more hydroelectric plants be­cause the skyrocketing cost of oil has made running fuel gen­erators too expensive.

A hydropower plant is being built in Kampot province, as are four oth­ers in Koh Kong and Pursat prov­inces, which are expected to produce 800 megawatts of power on completion, Ith Praing said.

 

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.