Electric companies must lower their prices to reflect the dip in world oil prices, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Nov 21 at the Government Private Sector Forum.
Oil prices skyrocketed to more than $145 per barrel in July, but by Nov 20 had tumbled to under $50 a barrel on the NYMEX market.
“You increased electricity prices when oil prices increased, but now it has decreased, why don’t you decrease [electricity prices]?” he asked electric companies at the forum, held at Government Palace in Phnom Penh.
Though several hydropower projects are under way, petroleum-fueled electricity is still a primary energy source in Cambodia.
Hun Sen said that the Ministry of Mines and Industry must work with electric companies, adding that because of subsidies in Phnom Penh, prices have risen more in the provinces.
Several electric companies said Sunday that they have been reducing their prices gradually for months.
At Yem Nareth Electric Company, which provides electricity to Pursat province, prices have gradually reduced from $0.50 per kilowatt-hour in July, to $0.48 in August, $0.46 in September to $0.42 in October, said Yem Nareth, the company’s president.
“We do not have the price for November because we need the approval of the National Authority of Electricity,” she said.
She said that one reason that electricity prices don’t decrease as quickly as oil prices is because electric companies like hers typically buy petroleum one month before they actually use it. Consequently, electricity price changes come one month behind oil price changes.
Neou Sokha, owner of the Prey Veng Private Electric company, which provides electricity to Peamro district’s Nak Loeung commune, said his company’s prices have decreased from 3,100 riel last month to 2,700 per kilowatt-hour this month.
“In December, I will decrease prices to 2,600 riel due to the slump in oil prices,” he said.
He added that oil prices fluctuate so much that keeping up with the trends can be a challenge.