Power Cut to Kompong Chhnang Hospital

Kompong Chhnang provincial hospital had its electricity cut for a weekend and may lose power again soon if the hospital is unable to pay its electricity bills, officials said Thursday.

Hospital Director Sorin Tira­vuthy said the loss of power from May 4 through May 6 crippled the hospital’s operations.

Power has been temporarily re­stored at the request of the provincial governor while the hospital asks for funding from the National Treasury to pay the $8,000 electricity bill, Sorin Tiravuthy said.

The hospital’s backup generator does not generate sufficient electricity for the hospital, Sorin Ti­ravuthy added, saying that it can only provide power for a short time at night.

Horn Soy, director of the provincial industry, mines and energy department, said that private power companies serving Kompong Chhnang had agreed to a month’s delay before cutting off power to the provincial hospital again.

He added that private power firms are in a difficult position because state institutions pay bills every three months when funding is disbursed rather than on a normal monthly billing cycle.

“It is hard for private electric companies because they have to buy oil every month for their generators, and they pay interest too,” Horn Soy said. “When they cannot collect money from consumers on time, they face losing profit, and we could possibly lose power completely.”

Horn Soy added that many public institutions are behind in their payments because of the government’s slow disbursement of funds.

Or Sovannarak, the deputy director of the same department, whose wife runs Sovanny Kompong Chhnang Electric Development Ltd, which cut power to the hospital, said paying the bill should not have been a problem.

“For a hospital, they can make money from patients, so if they want to pay their electric bill, maybe it would be no problem,” Or Sovannarak said.

His wife’s power supply company was also in a financial crisis because state-run institutions have owed them money for as long as a year, but it has to buy petrol every six weeks, he said.

He added that her company is losing $250 to $300 per month just in interest payments on debts, while the provincial governor’s office owes them $20,000 and other customers owe as much as $30,000.


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