OPEN LETTER FROM URBAN VOICE CAMBODIA
TO MR KEO RATANAK, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF ELECTRICITE DU CAMBODGE
May 29, 2013
Dear Mr Keo,
Re: Request to publish a schedule of power cuts in Phnom Penh
Urban Voice is a Phnom Penh-based crowdsourcing initiative. Through our website, we aim to highlight urban trends and developments, and allow the city’s residents a means to engage with how the city is changing and developing.
We are writing to you regarding the recent spate of power cuts in Phnom Penh. As part of our crowdsourcing efforts, Urban Voice has received over 110 reports of power cuts in the city between March and May 2013. These reports have been submitted by concerned citizens, who have been affected by the unpredictability of the power cuts. We have now compiled the data into the attached map, which appears to show that some areas are more affected by power cuts than others. In central Phnom Penh, Sangkats Olympic, Boeung Keng Kang 2 and 3, and Toul Svay Prey, appear to have been particularly affected. Some reports from this area highlight well over 10h long power cuts.
Because the data is collected through crowdsourcing, it is of course only indicative and not necessarily fully reflective of the situation. Nevertheless, it is clear that many residents of Phnom Penh have been negatively affected by the power cuts.
We fully understand that power shortages in Phnom Penh, and indeed throughout Cambodia, are a transitional problem as Cambodia develops. We are also aware that both the EDC and the government have been working hard to improve the situation.
The issue at stake here is thus not that power cuts occur, it is their unpredictability. Not knowing when, where, and for how long power cuts will take place, imposes socio-economic costs on businesses, organisations, and individuals. These could easily be avoided if Phnom Penh residents knew when to expect power cuts, and would hence be able to make alternative arrangements. Hence, we have called on the EDC to publish a schedule of power cuts. Publication of power cut schedules is common throughout India, and also practiced in many other developing countries, including South Africa, Nepal, and Indonesia. Indeed, in previous years the EDC too has shared some information about power cut schedules.
On Mar. 27, and EDC official was quoted in the Phnom Penh Post as saying that “[t]o minimise problems, we won’t publish any schedules.” We believe the opposite. We think problems are created by the lack of transparency regarding power cuts, and that the citizens of Phnom Penh deserve to know when and where power cuts will take place. We therefore request that you reconsider the position of the EDC, and publish a power cut schedule.
Urban Voice Cambodia