Sri Lanka activists demand energy equity

Jan 31, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan villagers are paying a high price for off-grid power while city folk are getting billions in power subsidies from a state power utility, an activist has charged. The activist also criticized a World Bank loan project the only significant fund that has come forward to fund such rural initiatives for charging high interest rates on loans given to village communities to develop their hydro-resources.

Is it fair?

“How fair is it for rural folk to have to repay a loan with high interest for developing their own hydro-resources?” asked Rohitha Ananda, project manager of Practical Action, a non-governmental organization.

He also said it was not fair for villagers without electricity to have to pay government taxes which are then used to give subsidized power rich individuals and industries.

Ananda was speaking at a conference on achieving sustainability and equity in energy organised by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority and Practical Action to exchange views on policy choices for the future.

The forum of decision-makers, energy sector officials, academics, civil society and private sector representatives addressed clima