Sri Lanka main opposition slams tariff hike, power regulator independence

Apr 18, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party has slammed a power tariff hike for very low users and the questioned the independence of the regulator, after a proposal of the state power monopoly was approved almost unchanged. But the regulator had earlier dis-allowed 40 billion rupees from proposed expenses of state-run Ceylon Electricity Board and allowed only about 45 billion rupees extra to be charged from consumers this year.

“This is a heartless tariff increase that will hit the low income households hard with medium to long term negative development consequences,” opposition legislator Harsha de Silva said.

“While it is true that the CEB losses must be reduced to ease the pressure on the treasury and slow down the massive buildup of debt to maintain macro stability the way in which it should have been done is certainly not to hammer the low income households who are anyway struggling to consume even what they do now.”

“This increase will certainly increase and deepen electricity poverty in Sri Lanka.”

At a public consultation the de Silva pleaded with the regulator to moderate the proposed increase of tariffs to householders using below 48 units, who are considered ‘electricity poor’ and were alre