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TRC praises telcos for energy cuts response

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
Employees of a local telecommunications operator answer customers’ queries. Supplied

Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia yesterday commended local telecommunications operators for upholding the quality of services amid daily power outages across the country.

“Since my institution issued a letter on Monday asking local telecommunications operators to take necessary action to ensure the quality of their services, I must say that these companies have been doing very well,” said Im Vutha, a spokesman for TRC, during an interview with Khmer Times.

He said some telecommunications companies have uninterruptible power sources (UPS) that allow them to operate for eight hours without energy from the national grid, while other are using standby generators or photovoltaic panels to secure the energy they need.

Mr Vutha, however, warned that “if blackouts continue for long, I am afraid they will not be able to maintain their services anymore.”

On March 18, TRC issued a letter asking telecom operators to take immediate action to ensure they can continue to provide their services to the public amid the current energy shortage. The regulator suggested they use UPS systems, generators or solar panels to keep stations online.

EDC last Friday issued a statement notifying the public that demand for electricity has gone up due to extremely hot weather. This has led to disruptions in the power supply.

To deal with the energy shortage, the public utility said it is scheduling 6-hour power cuts every day across the country, either in the mornings or afternoons.

Cellcard issued a short statement to customers on March 18 to inform them that their network will face outages in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Cham, Preah Sihanoukville and other areas across the country.

“Our engineers are preparing the power backup system to ensure customers can use the network. We apologise for any interruption,” the statement said.

Smart Axiata issued a similar statement to apologise for service disruption. “The Smart team is working relentlessly and will do everything in its power to uphold the quality of our service. Thank you for your understanding.”

EDC said it is in talks with neighbouring countries over energy purchases. It said that Thailand agreed to sell 80 megawatts and Laos 10 MW. Vietnam declined to sell energy because it is facing its own problems with the energy supply in the southern provinces.

Representatives from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Electricity Authority of Cambodia, and EDC have been meeting with officials from the Turkish embassy since the beginning of the week to discuss bringing a powership from Turkey that could help with the energy crisis.

EDC announced last week that a 60 MW solar power park in Kampong Speu province will start generating power next month, roughly four months ahead of schedule.

According to TRC, in 2018 Cambodia had 19.5 million mobile subscribers from 6 mobile operators. Of these 13.6 million used the Internet from their mobile phones and about 7 million had Facebook accounts.

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