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Hun Sen Orders Government Energy Saving

Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered government agencies to cut energy corners where they can, in order to save on electric bills.

Air conditioners are to be kept at 25 degrees Celsius and turned off 30 minutes before quitting time, Hun Sen wrote in a directive.

Government officials are to cut other energy costs to decrease budget expenditures, he wrote. The rising price of fuel increases the price of electricity, Hun Sen said, as he ordered that air-conditioners be limited to 25 degrees Celsius and turned off thirty minutes before quitting time.

Computers, printers and photo copiers must be turned off when not in use, and computers should be turned off and unplugged, he said.

He encouraged the use of natural light coming through office windows, and said street lights on only one side of the road will be illuminated, and not before sunset.

Ith Prang, secretary of state for the Ministry of Energy, said Friday the directive was on the right track, as Cambodia does not produce enough energy.

"Up to now, some places neglected the use of energy," he said. "Some places use extremely too much."

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said the measure would do much less than the much-awaited anti-corruption law, which is in the hands of the government and has not been passed to the National Assembly for approval.

"If we reduce electricity use, we earn only one or two cents, but corruption makes a loss to the national revenue of around $500 million per year," he said. "The reduction of the use of electricity will earn only $20,000 or $30,000."

Only about 20 percent of Cambodians currently have access to electricity. Several Chinese companies have begun construction on hydroelectric power plants in an effort to increase the country's power production.

The government expects by 2030, it could provide around 70 percent of the population with power, including electricity purchased from Thailand and Vietnam.