Pursat City Residents Threaten To Protest Electricity Prices

More than 500 residents of Pursat City have signed a letter addressed to Minister of Indus­try, Mines and Energy Suy Sem threatening to take to the streets in protest if the town’s privately owned electricity distributor does not reduce prices.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teach­ers’ Association, wrote yesterday to the minister asking that he in­tervene on behalf of the residents and have the private power supplier, Nareth Electricity De­vel­opment Co, drop the price of pow­­er by more than half, from cur­­rent rates of 1,750 riel per kilowatt hour to 800 riel, or about $0.45 per kilowatt hour to $0.20.

“The price of electricity needs to drop because the current living costs are already too difficult for them to pay every month,” Mr. Chhun wrote, adding that the price of electricity in Bat­tambang and Kompong Chhnang prov­inces is currently only 1,000 riel per kilowatt hour.

The price of electricity in Pur­sat City has already dropped significantly since January 2011, from a high of 2,500 riel per kilowatt to 1,800 riel as a result of similar pro­tests. Earlier this year, the price was reduced further to 1,750 riel per kilowatt.

“Companies in other provinces have found ways to keep the prices down,” Mr. Chhun added by phone.

Yim Nareth, director of the Na­reth Electricity Development Co, who acquired the sole right to distribute electricity in Pursat City in 2003, said that she was currently not in a position to reduce pri­ces because of the high-cost of producing electricity, and be­cause of an agreement with the government to which she was bound.

“I know what they are de­manding in Pursat, but we cannot help them unless Mr. Suy Sem reshuffles the deal with us,” she said.

“If the people resolve to de­m­onstrate, they should be held ac­countable under the law,” she added.

 

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.