Monday, December 01, 2008

Protests against electricity price hikes

Yesterday I griped about Cambodia's electricity being the most expensive among ASEAN countries. Electricity costs four times as much in Cambodia compared with Thailand and Vietnam, according to US-based Progressive Policy Institute.

I just read last Thursday's report by The Phnom Penh Post that all 8,000 of the vendors at Orussey market demonstrated against a price increase from 1,200 riels (30 US cents) to 1,500 (37.5 US cents) riels per kilowatt hour (kWh).

"I don't agree with this hike while oil prices are dropping and the prime minister pressured oil companies to decrease their price," said Sok Kun, a shoe vendor. "They even force us to pay 2,500 riels (62.5 US cents) for public lights that they rarely turn on."

In October, the Cambodian government said it would spend more than 300 million USD per year to keep petrol and electricity prices down. Obviously this has not done anything to keep electricity prices down (even though petrol prices have fallen from over 5000 riels a litre to less than 4000 riels).

Only 17 percent Cambodians and 85 percent of Phnom Penh residents are currently supplied with electricity but electricity consumption nationwide has increased 12 percent year on year, while that in Phnom Penh has risen 20 percent annually, said Ith Praing, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy. ("Bringing electricity, but only at a price", The Phnom Penh Post, 15.8.08)

"The government plans that by 2030 at least 70 percent of all households will have power," Ith Praing added. Deputy general manager of Cambodia’s Industry Ministry Victor Zona said Cambodia is likely to cut electricity costs by 10 percent in Phnom Penh and about 50 percent in provinces after 2012. Let's hope so.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin