Feb 02, 2017 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's power regulator has issued guidelines to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) to pay interest on security deposits amounting to 10.4 billion rupees as of end 2014 of electricity consumers when providing a connection. "CEB has about 10.4 billion rupees deposit (end 2014) shown in their accounts," Damitha Kumarasinghe, Director General, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) told Lanka Business Online. "The cash is not in a separate account and they are not able to pay it back to consumer due to the lack of a proper procedure and system in place." Electricity consumers are entitled to receive a payment for the security deposits under Section 28 of Electricity Act No.20 of 2009, where it describes the Distribution Licensee (CEB or LECO) to pay interest on such sum of money at the rate approved by the PUCSL for the period in which security deposit remains in the hands of the licensee.
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The interest payment on security deposit of the retail consumers (A Tariff Customer in any tariff category whose maximum contract demand is less than 42 kilo-volt-ampere), will be calculated on a yearly basis and credited to the consumer’s electricity bill in the month of January of the following year, the PUCSL said issuing a statement.
Interest payment for the bulk supply consumer (A Tariff Customer in any tariffs category whose maximum contract demand is more than 42 kilo-volt-ampere), will be calculated monthly and will be credited to the electricity bill on a monthly basis.
In a termination of an electricity connection, PUCSL asked CEB and LECO to pay the interest up to the date of termination, together with the security deposit within a month from the date of termination, after deducting all dues to the licensee with respect to the billing account.
PUCSL has approved an annual interest rate of 8.93 percent for the security deposits (a monthly interest rate of 0.715 percent) for the year 2017, effective from 1st of January.
The interest rate is based on the average weighted fixed deposit rates (AWFDR) published by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
PUCSL will announce the interest rate applicable for the respective year in the month of Janaury each year.
The Consumers can make complaints to the respective licensees (CEB or LECO) when they encounter any issues related to obtaining interest.
If a customer is not satisfied with the solution given by the licensees, such disputes related to interest payment may be submitted to the PUCSL for mediation.
PUCSL has stressed non-payment of interest on security deposit would result as committing an offence under the provision the Electricity Act.