Siem Reap Power Plant To Open Next Year

A new power plant in Siem Reap is expected to go on line in March 2004 in hopes of bolstering the region’s infrastructure and lowering the price of electricity.

Siem Reap province needs more electricity capacity because its power supply is increasingly drained by businesses and hotels, according to a news re­lease from the embassy of Japan.

The project is funded by the Japanese government through a $17.5 million aid package. Two Japa­nese construction firms, Marubeni Corp and Mitsubishi Corp, are building the station on Route 6, about 3.5 km from Siem Reap town.

With 10 megawatts of generating capacity, the plant should  light up many of the provinces’ far-flung homes and those within Siem Reap town.

“This project will contribute not only to leveling up the standards of inhabitants’ lives in Siem Reap city, but also to promoting regional development focusing on the tourism activities and eventually attract more investments from the private sector,” said Gotaro Oga­wa, the Japanese ambassador to Cambodia.

Though the plant will help pow­er regional tourism, its first priority is to provide electricity to homes.

“The next step will be to have elec­tricity for commercial” uses. “This is for homes,” said Ith Praing, secretary of state for the Min­istry of Industry, Mines and Energy.

Energy generated by the plant will not only supply electricity to homes, but also schools and a hospital expected to be built within the area, he said. Most hotels receive power via generator.

Prices for electricity should drop at least $0.03 per kilowatt- hour after the plant becomes operational. The price of electricity in Siem Reap town is $0.15 per kilowatt-hour and about $0.22 in the rural areas of the province.

“I think this project responds to the actual strategy for development in Cambodia,” Ogawa said in a speech at plant’s ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday. Electricity has become indispensable to sustaining social and economic growth, he said.

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