Sri Lanka’s opposition says hike should have avoided ‘electricity poor’

Apr 26, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party said a power tariff hike could have been imposed without an increase on small users to get the same revenue. Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva proposed an alternative pricing structure Friday which avoids raising tariffs for those using 90 units or below and increasing the rates of those using more.

At a public hearing on the proposed hike, de Silva pleaded with the regulator not to allow state-run Ceylon Electricity Board to raise the rates of those using below 48 units or those who were ‘electricity poor’ in economic terms.

He said uses below 31 units used an average of 18 units a month.

“Can you imagine someone using 18 units a month?” he questioned reporters at a media briefing Friday.

“They don’t use it because they cannot afford. These people are really, really poor.”

A customer using 30 units will face a tariff hike of 75 rupees a month up, 52 percent or a total of 217 rupees.

About 1.3 million households are in the category.

Under the Public Utilities Commission’s tariff methodology once costs have been allowed by the regulator, the CEB has to be allowed to coll