Increase in Electricity Bills
There is a wave of electricity bills increase in Cambodia right now. First it was the tiny Province of Kep, where increases jumped suddenly in April to 8%, 40% and even 80% in some hotels, even if there were less guests than last year and the weather was the same. At the time, nearby provinces like Kampot and Sihanok did not experiment such event, so different persons went to complain to Kep Power Supply that blamed the weather.
In an open letter to KPS dated May 22, 2015, some families and business groups of Kep complained:
We are writing to communicate an issue we are having with electricity services in Krong Kep. Over the past several years, hotels, guesthouses, other businesses and citizen homes in Krong Kep have been experiencing unusually high electricity bill increases. For example, from March to April of this year, electricity bills in the community increased up to 85 percent. We do not understand how almost every KPS customer in Kep had a much higher electricity bill in April when compared to March and April 2014, even though the rate per Kilo Watt Hour stayed the same and most of us were using the same power-consuming appliances.
Then it came the Capital by early July, when its inhabitants opened wide their eyes before their electricity bills with sudden increases by their Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), a company that keeps to call itself in French language, thus now charging as in France. There were also different increases records as in Kep, going from 20% to 80% as it can be proved in this report by The Phnom Penh Post (July 2015). The wave of complains – it should be a real Tsunami thinking in 2 million citizens, much larger than Kep – produced a warning to EdC staff if anybody would be caught altering the real electricity consumption of customers. It came because after a blackout of 10 days in the Chbar Ampov district, electrical bills came with a meaningful increase, although residents did not use electricity. Once more, EdC, as KPS blamed the weather.
Now the time came to Sihanouk Province under EdC as well. In a statement known by The Cambodia Daily, the company blamed once more the weather, arguing more kilowatts consumption.
Once more it is possible to see this lack of customer care that should be in a developed society. There is not reason to hide the real reasons of this situation. Blaming the weather seems to me as treating the customers as children. Evidently, it is not the weather, since there has been a hot weather for the last billions of years – though electricity is much longer than that.
The real cause is this:
Electrical consumption has increased in a very dramatically way in the last 4 years. If you see the graphic, consumption in Cambodia stayed in a very low level between 2000 and 2007, almost a flat 0.2 (billion kWh). Then it came the first big jump to 1.18 in 2008 to remain almost stable with a slight fluctuation until 2011 when it reached 1.56. From here we have 2,57 in 2013 and 2014.
In this graphic, there is a comparison of electricity consumption of kilowatts per hour per capita between Cambodia and Myanmar.
Now well, in order to respond to this high electrical consumption that I guess will continue increasing as much as development will go on in Cambodia, it is important to know the Cambodian electrical capacity:
If we compare the Cambodian hydroelectric production with the one of Thailand in kWh, we have a very low Cambodian production: 45 million in 2011 against 8 billion of Thailand. It means that we are very much dependent in electricity imports. While the policymakers think in solutions to get more electrical power for the growing and hunger private and public sectors, the solution for small enterprises, schools and even families is to look for self-production through solar and wind plants and Cambodia has a lot on it. Just think in what a hot season means for a solar plant. There is also one advantage: we are near to China that is leading today the global market in solar energy – because they need, of course, much power than Cambodia.