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Malaysia firm to bring Oddar Meanchey onto national power grid

Workers perform maintenance on electrical cables in Phnom Penh's Chamkarmon district last year.
Workers perform maintenance on electrical cables in Phnom Penh's Chamkarmon district last year. Heng Chivoan

Malaysia firm to bring Oddar Meanchey onto national power grid

Malaysian-owned power infrastructure provider Pestech (Cambodia) Ltd has won a $26 million job to start on a new electricity project in Cambodia that will see Oddar Meanchey province connected to the national power grid, according to a filing on the Malaysian stock exchange.

The entire project includes a new substation in Phnom Penh as well as two new substations and a 115kV transmission line in Oddar Meanchey. The double-circuit line will run about 75 kilometres to Siem Reap.

Victor Jona, director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said yesterday that the new transmission line was especially important, as it would join Oddar Meanchey to the national electricity grid for the first time.

He added that the new line, which will connect to a substation in the Pouk district of Siem Reap, would lower electricity costs for Oddar Meanchey’s residents, which are currently higher than $0.25 per kilowatt hour. Electricity in the province is currently provided by private companies sourcing power from Thailand.

“People in Oddar Meanchey will soon be able to access stable and reliable electricity from the national grid, at a lower price than ever before, which will help to improve their living conditions,” he said, adding that the transmission line should reduce the price of electricity to no more than $0.20 per kilowatt hour.

“More investment will emerge as the electricity supply becomes stable and costs become cheaper, creating more job opportunities in the province,” he added.

According to Jona, Pestech was awarded the contract under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement, which will allow the company to own and operate its projects in the electricity sector for 30 years before relinquishing control of its developments to the public sector.

Meas Han, president of the Oddar Meanchey Chamber of Commerce, said that all electricity to the province is currently supplied by private businesses, which are able to sell electricity at an increased rate.
“Accessing the national electricity power grid is good news,” he said. “I hope there will be an increase of investment [into the province] in the future.”

The projects are expected to begin within the month. The Oddar Meanchey transmission line and substation are expected to be completed within 18 months, while the Phnom Penh substation in Bek Chan should be completed within two years.

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