A city-wide blackout created heated public discussion in Phnom Penh on May 22, 2013. Starting from around 2pm, Urban Voice received several reports on the topic from all parts of the city, complaining of blackouts and in some cases water shortages.
Reportedly, the seemingly unprecedented power cut was due to a severe power outage in Vietnam, which cut all power from the neighbouring country into Cambodia. According to an Electricite du Cambododge (EDC) official quoted in the Cambodia Daily, the city as a result had only 30% of its usual power supply, as Vietnam provides Cambodia with some 40% of the national power supply. Keo Sovannarith, deputy director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, confirmed the city’s water supply had been hit by the outage: “When the water supply factory loses electricity from the EdC the machines – which use electricity to work – can’t pump water to the pipes,” he told the Cambodia Daily.
Although power returned around 8pm, Phnom Penh’s residents remain disgruntled. The mass outage follows a month of severe power cuts around the city, resulting in extensive socio-economic costs due to their unpredictability. Urban Voice has been tracking the blackouts throughout, and calling on the EDC to publish a schedule of power cuts.