Phnom Penh was hit with a massive blackout early Thursday morning due to technical problems in the city’s electricity system, officials at the state-run utility Electricite du Cambodge said.
EdC officials said nearly 40,000 customers, or about 50 percent of its Phnom Penh-area clients, were affected by the system’s power failure. Some places had no electricity for as little as 3 minutes, while others remained in the dark for up to an hour.
This is the second major power outage since EdC finished installation of a new system in 2000, according to the utility.
“It happened due to technical problems in the new power system,” said Ty Norin, the utility’s deputy general-director. “We are still collecting data from each section to find out the problems.”
Ty Norin said EdC’s power generation and distribution system have been upgraded with financial and technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and Japan over the last five years.
The more than $100-million project included installation of new transmission lines and underground distribution lines, and rehabilitation of power plants in Phnom Penh and some areas of Kandal province, he said. The projects will finally allow the city to have one inter-connected power system, Ty Norin said.
“It should be reliable because we now have the new system,” Ty Norin said. Given the fact that a similar incident happened about a month ago despite the new computerized system, he suspected the system itself has some technical problems.
An EdC technician said the state-run utility found the first power failure at around 7 am Thursday.
The blackout occurred all over the city, but he also found equipment heavily damaged near Takhmau in Kandal province where old overhead distribution lines still remain.
Ty Norin said EdC will ask experts sent by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to analyze the system’s reliability.
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