Sri Lanka to phase out fuel surcharge on power bills from next year: officials

Apr 22, 2013 (LBO) – A hike in power tariffs has had a minimal impact on low users, and a fuel surcharge will be phased out from early next year as two more coal plants come on stream, officials said. Power minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said 1.1 million households that used up to 30 units of electricity (kiloWatt hours) a month would only have to pay about 75 rupees extra even with the fuel surcharge.

About 1.3 million households that used between 31 to 60 units had to pay an average of 174 rupees a unit. The percentage increase faced by some households however ranged between to 50 to 100 percent in some cases.

“People do not pay by percentage but by rupees,” she told a gathering editors of print and electronic media with Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday.

Another 1.3 million households who used between 61 to 90 units had to pay 432 rupees extra a month, she said.

President Rajapaksa said increases to small households had been kept minimal and many were still receiving a subsidy based on a generation cost of over 20 rupees a unit.

There had been an outcry at the change of from a slab system to a block system, where a sudden 1,000 rupee increase is faced by use