December 30 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka government has agreed to offload half the 60 billion-rupee long-term debt of the Ceylon Electricity Board from January and re-schedule the balance to be paid after five years. The CEB sells about seven billion units of electricity each year, with households using up 2550 million units with an almost equal amount used up by industries. "To allow the Ceylon Electricity Board to begin with a clear balance sheet from January 01, the government has agreed to offload 50 percent of CEB’s long term debt, to be re-issued as share capital of the CEB," M M C Ferdinando, secretary to the power ministry, told LBO on Friday.
"The balance 50 percent is to be re-scheduled by the government, allowing the CEB to repay in monthly installments after 2011, after commission of the coal power plant in Norachcholai."
Sri Lanka's first coal power project is due to be completed in 2011, bringing down high costs of generating electricity from expensive liquid thermal plants.
According to provisional data from the Central Bank, CEBs net operating losses were up 16 percent in the first half of this year to 8.8 billion rupees.
Short-term bank borrowings by