Hot Rod

A proposed 23 percent wage hike for Ceylon Electricity Board employees will be taken up tomorrow, appeasing trade unions that threatened to strike work on Wednesday. A proposed 23 percent wage hike for Ceylon Electricity Board employees will be taken up tomorrow, appeasing trade unions that threatened to strike work on Wednesday. The proposed wage hike for its 14,000 employees will add a further Rs. 65 mn a month to the CEB’s Rs. 350 mn monthly salary bill, if approved.

The increase was due in August, Power & Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha told CEB employees on Tue. that he would try to fast track it through cabinet.

The promise no doubt averted a Ceypetco like walkout and bought support, but will come at a cost to the CEB already battling Rs. 14 bn in short term debt, soaring fuel costs and subsidised tariffs.

The CEB is the largest user of diesel and furnace oil for power generation, with prices more than doubling from levels of Rs. 15.30 a litre for diesel and Rs. 14 a litre for furnace oil in 2002.

But an ongoing drought is also shifting reliance to thermal power and its heavy fuel costs, with the state utility forced to subsidise domesti