Around 100 people upset over the installation of new electricity transmission towers by the national electricity company, Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), protested on Friday morning in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district to demand a halt in the placement of the towers, or suitable compensation, protesters and officials said.
Keo Savoeun, the chief of Chak Angre Loeu commune, through which the new route passes, said residents were concerned about whether it would be safe to live near the transmission towers, but he insisted that EdC had already made detailed route plans and paid due compensation to those affected by the four new towers.
“This morning the villagers protested when the four electricity towers were erected because they worry they will shock them, but we had already compensated many of the families,” he said.
He said that the transmission towers being installed, which are around 30 meters tall and set back at least 3 meters from houses, met the requirements of the plan.
“EdC, they can’t stop the construction because this line will be used for people living in the capital, so we will try to compromise with them and provide suitable compensation,” he said.
Noun Sophea, a representative of the protesters, denied that authorities had ever explained the route of the towers, or mentioned compensation options.
“We are protesting because villagers are worried about the line near their houses, which might shock them,” she said, calling for them to be moved further away.
“If they really need to put the line where they are planning, they should provide us with compensation, because it’s across villagers’ land,” she said.
Ean Savuth, the spokesman for EdC in Chak Angre Loeu, said that he was still waiting for residents to come to his office to discuss their concerns. However, he emphasized that the EdC had been open about its plans from the start of the project.
“We know it’s across their land, so they are unhappy, but EdC was never quiet,” he said.