Sri Lanka state power utility to lose less than expected

Oct 20, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board may lose only half the originally expected 40 billion rupees in 2010 with the utility already covering operation costs in June, July and August, power minister Champika Ranawaka said. A 155 billion rupee loan taken from China Export Import Bank to build a 900 MegaWatt coal plant complex will also be serviced by the utility, he said.

“In June, July and August we have covered operational costs even after bearing the cost of street lights and depreciation,” minister Ranawaka told reporters Wednesday.

“We projected losses of 40 billion rupees for this year but it may be half that.”

Minister Ranawaka said the final number will only be known by February 2011.

CEB had been helped by good rainfall which had allowed it to depend less on expensive liquid thermal power plant.

CEB has a pricing problem where it sells subsidized power to manufacturing industry – at prices lower than even some parts of India – but charges high prices from domestic and commercial users.

Minister Ranawaka said thermal power which can cost up to 25 rupees a unit has been minimized. Hydro power costs around 2.50 rupees, he said.

According to published data CEB hydro generation wen