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Poor households given $51m in energy subsidies

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
The government aims to progressively lower the price of electricity every year. Supplied

The government subsidised $51 million worth of electricity across the country in 2017 in a bid to bring down the price of electricity for low-income households, according to the Minister of Mines and Energy.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Electricity Authority Cambodia yesterday, Suy Sem said the $51 million in subsidies was paid for by Electricite du Cambodge’s revenue in recent years.

EdC is a state-run enterprise and the sole electric utility in Cambodia.

Mr Sem said the subsidies were included in the government’s preferential plan on electricity tariffs for the years 2015-2020, which aims to progressively lower the price of electricity every year.

“Private electricity providers, both in rural and urban areas, must sell their electricity at the prices set by the government. Their losses will be covered by the authorities,” he said.

The $51 million subsidy Government cuts cost of electricty KT/Chor Sokunthea

For households in Phnom Penh and Takhmao that consumed less than 50 kilowatt hour per month last year, electricity tariffs were set at 610 riel ($0.15) per kWh. For those that used between 51 to 200 kWh, the cost of electricity was 710 riel ($0.17), according to EAC’s annual report.

Outside these areas, the electricity tariff was 480 riel ($0.12) per kWh for those who consumed less than 10 kWh per month and 602 riel ($0.15) for those who used between 11 to 50 kWh per month.

For people not covered by the government’s preferential plan, electricity cost 770 riel ($0.19) per kWh through the EDC, and 790 riel ($0.197) if they were using a private utility company.

For commercial and industrial enterprises, the electricity tariff was also lowered, from 670 riel ($0.167) per kWh in 2016, to 662 riel ($0.165) in 2017.

EAC’s chairman Ty Norin said the authority is continuing its work with the EDC and the Ministry of Mines and Energy to bring down the price of electricity further before the general election in July, which will include a new tariff cut in March.

Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem. KT/Chor Sokunthea

According to EAC’s annual report, the amount of energy produced in the kingdom increased 11.4 times in the last 15 years.

In 2017, total energy output was 2,283 MW, up from 2,115 MW in 2016.

Last year, Cambodians consumed 7,966 kWh of energy, while the year before they used 7,175 kWh.

With seven hydropower plants fully operational by the end of 2018, the report forecast that total energy output would be 1,329 MW, of which 538 MW will come from coal power plants, 251 MW from fossil fuel power stations, and 72 MW from renewable energy sources.

Mr Norin said that by 2020, 98 percent of villages in the country will be electrified.

“In the next few years, we aim to reduce our dependency on other countries for energy. We want to increase local production so that we can trade energy with our neighbours,” Mr Norin said.

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