Prey Veng Villagers Protest Unusually Big Electric Bills

Fifty households in the Neak Loeung region of Prey Veng province are protesting over their electric bills, claiming prices are going up even though they’re not using any more power than usual.

The dispute centers on electric meters from a company owned by villager Nao Sokha, who since 1998 has used a petroleum-powered generator system to supply electricity to 2,000 families in the region.

The complaining households claim that, on average, each uses power for three lamps, two fans and a television.

They said individual household use in July varied from 10 to 15 kilowatt hours. But just 15 days into August, measured use for the same households ranged from 307 to 1,120 kilowatt hours. Villagers have protested three times in front of Nao Sokha’s house. But he said it’s not his fault.

“I am not cheating the people here,” he said. “I’m one of the older people in this area.”

He said all the meters were checked by Electricite du Cam­bodge before they were installed two years ago, and they were accurate at that time.

He blamed any discrepancies on the effects of sun and rain on meters unprotected from the weather.

Nao Sokha recently raised the price of electricity from 1,000 riel ($0.25) to 1,100 riel ($0.28) per kilo­watt hour. He said the rate hike was ap­proved by the provincial industry department to cover the in­creased price of gasoline. He said he has no further plans to raise prices unless the price of gasoline continues to rise.

He said his price of 1,100 riel per kilowatt hour is the same for homes and businesses.

By comparison, EdC recently announced a sliding price scale of 350 riel ($0.09) for 0 to 50 kilowatt hours, 550 riel ($0.14) for 51 to 100 kilowatt hours and 650 riel ($0.16) for more than 100 kilowatt hours.

Nao Sokha suggested dissatisfied customers complain to the provincial governor or the National Assembly.




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