Electricity prices in Cambodia are among the most expensive in the region due to a shortage of integrated high-voltage transmission systems and the high cost of imported diesel fuel. Power in provincial cities is more expensive and less reliable than the supply in Phnom Penh. In very remote rural areas, the only source of electricity may be a small portable generator. However, the government of Cambodia has set a goal of electrifying all villages by 2020 and connecting at least 70% of all households to grid-quality electricity by 2030.
There are two types of licensees in Cambodia. Independent Power Producers have licenses to generate and sell electricity to suppliers or industries according to Power Purchase Agreements with that supplier or industry. Consolidated Licensees have generation licenses to transmit, dispatch, distribute, and sell electric power to the consumers.
In April 2017, General Electric (GE) signed its first ever power agreement in Cambodia to supply boilers, electrostatic precipitators, and steam turbine generation systems for a 135MW coal plant being built by Toshiba Plant Systems and Services Corporation.
There is tremendous demand in Cambodia for diesel generators as backup power, on-site power plants, and power generation in rural areas not served by public utilities. Almost 100 percent of households in urban areas are electrified, while the figure is approximately 80 percent for rural households. As with other types of infrastructure development, the government has only limited funding for power generation projects, but U.S. suppliers should check the ED, World Bank and ADB websites regularly for potential new projects in the energy sector. The Cambodian government has stated that it is amenable to private ownership and private financing of power plants and that it is seeking $3 billion in investment over the next 10 years. Some build-operate-transfer hydropower deals have already been concluded. Major sources of local power generation are hydro, coal, and a limited amount diesel, wood, and biomass. In addition to local power generation, Cambodia also buys electricity from neighboring countries, especially during the dry season.
Opportunities exist for power generation and transmission equipment in cooperation with international donors or private companies.