Sri Lanka power regulator vows not to allow cabinet driven power hike

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The proposal to increase the electricity tariff in two stages this year was presented to the cabinet on Monday (02) by the Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera, but the approval has been delayed by a week amid strong opposition to the move.

“The proposal is based on false facts and figures. Therefore Even if the decision is taken by the cabinet, we will not accept it,” Ratnayake told reporters at a media briefing on Thursday (05).

“We have the power vested with us to reject it. Therefore we urge the public not to panic. The PUCSL is not considering any tariff hike at the moment”.

The proposed tariff hike is based on facts and figures presented by the state owned utility provider, Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB) General Manager, a senior engineer and the Ministry Secretary, Ratnayake said.

“Luckily the cabinet did not take any favourable decision in this regard. If they took a decision, it would have been based on wrong facts and figures” Ratnayake said.

“And therefore, we urge the cabinet members not to take a decision based on this illegal proposal but to properly go through the correct channels where the PUCSL will consider and take appropriate decisions”

“There is a department in CEB to make decisions on the tariff and the proposal of that should be passed by the Director Board of the CEB. However, the current proposal has not passed any of those stages”, he said.

The new proposal has suggested only to increase the tariff of 5 million people that are using below 90 units, and the ministry hopes to earn 100 billion rupees in 2023, Ratnayake said.

There are around 1.5 million households using below 30 units, and around 1.6 million uniots whilc are using below 60 units and 1.7 million families using below 90 units, according to Ratnayake.

“The eight rupees that we charged per unit for the below 30 unit category will go up to thirty rupees and the 120 rupees of fixed rate will be increased to 400 rupees. The 10 rupees per unit that was for the below 60 category, will go up to 37 rupees ,and the 16 per unit charge for below 90 and 120 category will go up to 42 rupees,” he said.

“The 50 rupees per unit for the above 120 units category and the 75 rupees for above 180 units category has not increased. The fixed fee will be increased by around 500 for those categories”.

He said, there was no need for a power tariff hike, considering the availability of the raw materials for power generation and a stable rupee after depreciating sharply.

The CEB is not managing the increased operational profit they get properly, he said adding that after the tariff hike in August,2022 the operational profit of the utility provider has gone up to 35 billion rupees.

“We strongly recommend the board to manage that amount earned from the citizens of this country properly, before going for a restructuring” he said. (Colombo/ Jan 5/2023)

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Disclaimer: Sri Lanka power regulator vows not to allow cabinet driven power hike - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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