Cambodia’s electricity access expanding



By APD writer Kin Ratha

Phnom Penh, March 22, (APD) - The World Bank (WB) on Thursday said that Cambodia power grid has expanded to 71.5 percent and the reliability of electricity supply can be improved, as nearly two-thirds of households with access face frequent power shortages.

According to its latest report, called Cambodia Beyond Connections: The Energy Access Diagnostic Based on a Multi-Tier Framework, looks at, among other factors, the capacity, reliability, affordability, and safety of the country’s energy sector. Nationwide, nearly 90 percent of Cambodian households have access to at least four hours of electricity a day.

Ty Norin, Chairman of Electricity Authority Cambodia said that the government has been making great effort in improving the electricity access by attracting more investments into the sector over the years - a move to make the electricity accessibility nationwide.

“Cambodia has made rapid progress in increasing access to electricity for villages and consumers, but progress has been achieved at a cost. It is time now to turn our attention to strengthening the reliability and quality of electricity supply, which would enable families and business to flourish,” said Mr. Ty Norin.

Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia said that some 30 percent of rural households rely on off-grid power for electricity, including solar home systems, solar lanterns, and rechargeable batteries. With improvement of transmission and distribution systems, as well as promotion of expanded grid connections and solar home systems, Cambodia will strengthen the potential of its economy.

“Energy is critical for enhancing industrial competitiveness that create more jobs, and improving public services that broaden opportunities – leading to a better quality of life for all Cambodians,” said Inguna Dobraja.

“Cambodia is the first country in the East Asia and Pacific region to carry out the Multi-Tier Framework survey, which offers detailed household data on energy that will strengthen policy-making for the energy sector,” he added.

The report’s policy recommendations include expanding access to modern energy cooking solutions. More than 66 percent of households still use biomass stoves, hence helping families – particularly low-income and female-headed households – gain access to clean fuels and stoves would reduce health risks.

“While tremendous strides have been made in expanding access to electricity, gains in efficiency, reliability and affordability will lead to even brighter prospects for families, business, and the country. We stand by to assist the government in their efforts to achieve reliable, affordable, and modern energy service by 2030,” said Julia Fraser, Manager for the World Bank’s Energy and Extractives Global Practice in East Asia.