Friday, 30 January 2015

Hun Sen Power Would Be Cheaper

«ច្បាស់​ណាស់​ថា បន្ទាប់​ពី​ថ្លៃ​អគ្គិសនី​នេះ​ទៅ គឺ​នឹង​អ្នក​ឆ្លើយ​ប្រាប់​ថា បើ​សិន​អញ​​កាន់​អំណាច អញ​នឹង​បញ្ចុះ​ថ្លៃ​អគ្គិសនី​នេះ ថោក​ជាង​ហ្នឹង ៣​ដង។ ប៉ុន្តែ​សូម​បញ្ជាក់​ថា អត់​មាន​ឱកាស​ណា​ថោក​ជាង​តម្លៃ​ហ្នឹង​បាន​ទៀត​ទេ»។

នាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រី​ ហ៊ុន សែន ថ្ងៃ​ទី​១២ ខែ​មករា ២០១វិទ្យុអាស៊ីសេរី

“អ្នកញុះញង់មួយចំនួនថា នៅវៀតណាម១គីឡូភ្លើងតែ២៥០រៀល។ គ្មានមានអាត្រានេះទាល់តែសោះ អត់មានទេ។ អញ្ចឹងវាជាការបោកប្រាស់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋេ ដើម្បីធ្វើគោលដៅផ្សេង។”

អគ្គនាយក​អគ្គិសនី​​កម្ពុជា កែវរតនៈ​ ថ្ងៃ​ទី​១៤ ខែ​មករា ​២០១៥ វិទ្យុបារាំងអន្តរជាតិ ​

“We have created electricity [at Stung Tatai Dam in Koh Kong] that is beyond the capacity of the current power grid during the rainy season, and this electricity has not been used yet. We do not yet have a power grid to absorb and distribute [the electricity].”

Ministry of Mines and Energy secretary of state Ith Praing, 21 November 2014, The Cambodia Daily

“During the rainy season in 2014, Cambodia has had a surplus of about 246 megawatts [of electricity] that has not been consumed due to lack of a power grid.”

Premier Hun Sen, 6 October 2014, The Cambodia Daily (21 November 2014)

Is Hun Sen right when he claims there is no chance the electricity price drops to one third of the current level without nuclear power plant?

He is dead wrong.

Just a day after the claim, Electricite du Cambodge director-general Keo Rattanak announces a maximum electricity rate of 610 riels per Kwh (15.06 cents) for those who consume power less than 51 Kwh per month. If he is right that some room-renters pay their landlord 2,500 riels per Kwh, the new rate is only a quarter of the current one. If the better-off also pays the 2,500 riel rate, their new rate of 820 riels per Kwh represents a drop to about one third. Hence, Hun Sen’s own power pricing policy gives the lie to his claim.

Nevertheless, Keo Rattanak also lies when he says there is no such thing as 250 riels per Kwh in Vietnam. Yes, there is. The lowest rate for Vietnamese poor for less than 51 Kwh per month is 5.66 US cents, or 229 riels. He forgets a golden rule for lying: one lies only when it is impossible for others to check. A few clicks on Google search will provide all the numbers to prove Keo Rattanak does not know what, when, and how to lie.

Beyond the lies, Hun Sen could do much better, though. Indeed, he can take all credits for providing electricity to the people more than Pol Pot ever has. But a wishful thinking is that he would give Cambodians a break.

Cambodians, especially the poor, fare badly if the comparison moves beyond the Khmer Rouge handiwork. In contrast to their counterparts in neighbouring countries, Cambodian poor still pay far too much for Hun Sen power even with the new rate of 15.06 US cents. For the same amount of usage per month, Thai poor pay 7.74 cents; Vietnamese poor, 5.65 cents; and Lao poor, only 4.60 cents. None of these countries operates any nuclear plant.

Not only the Cambodian poor pay more in absolute terms than their neighbours, they pay even more from their income perspective. Out of their GDP per capita of $1,007, the Cambodian electricity takes 9.0%. Vietnamese spend 1.8% of theirs; Lao, 1.7%; and Thai only 0.8%. Thus, the Cambodian back is bending due to the electricity burden – not scoliosis.

GDP per
Electricity Rates US Cent
Annual Cost
Capita (USD)
<51 Kwh
Amount USD

Compiled by Pseng-Pseng, 26 January, 2015

It is also clear why Hun Sen electricity must cost so much. His power management is not as efficient as the way he uses guns and court to demolish peaceful demonstrations. Both he and Ith Praing know the 246-megawatt Stung Tatai Dam in Koh Kong has been producing electricity since August last year, but all the energy has gone unused because there is no power grid to bring it to consumers. Brightway vice-president Chea Sitha estimates the government loses about $74 million in revenue. This is another one of Hun Sen’s obsessions of putting the horse in front of the cart, so that his personal interest group can make a quick buck from the back-to-front development.

Ung Bun Ang

Parthian Shot

There is a man on a kerb at a pathway intersection laughing. A pedestrian asks him why he is laughing. He replies, “Do you see that rock in the middle of the pathway? I have been standing here observing all morning. That rock has tripped up more than 10 people, yet nobody has removed it.” He continues to laugh.

After laughing his head off the whole morning, the man decides to do a research on why nobody cares enough to remove the rock.

Then he finds out there is a standing order from a police chief to keep the rock there to trip up pedestrians in the hope they will be hurt badly enough to go to a private medical clinic located close by. The clinic will then pays a kickback to the police chief, who shares a cut with his superior.

The man sits down, and this time cries his heart out the whole afternoon. Even he cannot remove the rock…

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Pseng-Pseng is published on the tenth, twentieth, and thirtieth day of every month. Previous issues are archived at

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