Prime Minister Hun Sen said that Cambodia has kept its electricity tariffs unchanged this year even though the domestic demand for electricity soared. He said the government wants to help consumers including those in agriculture, while in the neighbouring countries, the tariffs have increased to a level which is higher than that of Cambodia.
Mr Hun Sen revealed this during an interaction with 342 households who have been affected by the project for the development of Stung Pursat I Hydropower Dam worth $231 million in Veal Veng district, Pursat province, before continuing his trip to inspect the project site.
The countrywide demand for electricity consumption, Prime Minister Hun Sen said has increased to more than 2,200 megawatts from about 30 megawatts in the 1990s, while Phnom Penh—the capital and largest city of Cambodia and the centre of security, politics, economics, cultural heritage, and diplomacy—covers over 1,000 megawatts.
The Premier also indicated that the demand for electricity consumption in Cambodia, especially for households, agriculture, tourism and industries, is projected to increase further as its economy has been fast developed, which requires that the government has to increase the supply by enhancing the capacity of power generating sources, especially renewable sources.
“Everyone has increased their prices like our neighbouring countries, but we do not. Previously, our prices had been higher than theirs, but now their prices have has been higher than theirs as we have to be patient to help our people,” said Mr Hun Sen, adding that electricity tariff for water pumping in agriculture from 9 pm to 7 am has stayed at 480 riel per kWh.
The Premier said that Cambodia needs to develop renewable sources of electricity in response to the rising demand for electricity by houses and enterprises, especially hydropower dams that do not affect climate change as they do not pollute the environment, while the sources have represented over 62 percent of the total supply in the country.
Mr Hun Sen pointed out that solar can generate electricity in panels when sunlight exists. “It is not enough… at night it does not produce electricity at all. So, we need to find ways to address the electricity issue… as the demand has been rising,” he said, adding that the demand for electricity in Cambodia’s tourism industry has been remarkably high.
“The heavy consumption is in services provided in the tourism sector… as this is not the time for tourists to use fans but they need to use air-conditioners instead, while households use air-conditioners or at least electric fans and production factories also need electricity and so jobs would be created to produce goods,” he said, adding one building needs about 10 megawatts.
Heng Kunleang, Director-General of the Energy Department of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) told Khmer Times yesterday that Cambodia has kept the electricity tariffs in 2023 the same as in 2022 for all categories of consumers, while a progress report of the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EAC) shows that the electricity tariffs have unchanged since 2020.
The government approved SPHP (Cambodia) Co Ltd to build the Stung Pursat I Hydropower Dam on April 5, 2019, in partnership with Power China to be able to generate approximately 80 megawatts, but the construction started officially in February 2022 and is expected to be completed and launched in 2026.
SPHP has invested $231.10 million under the BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) form for 39 years, while two 60-megawatt solar power stations will be built in Krakor district of Pursat province and in Tek Phos district of Kampong Chhnang province with a total investment capital of more than $58 million under the BOO (Build-Own-Operate) form for 20 years by Schnei Tec Co Ltd.
A report issued in late 2018 by the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) showed that the electricity tariff in Cambodia then was highest in the region, which made the country to be more competitive as manufacturing destination. However, the government is confident that within five to ten years the electricity tariff in Cambodia can be one of the lowest among ASEAN member states.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.