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LG bodies, PCs silent on CEB order to pay for street lighting

Local Government bodies and Provincial Councils are keeping mum on Power and Energy Ministry order that they pay for street lighting.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will from next month transfer the electricity bills of the country’s 700,000 street lamps to the relevant local authorities as the Treasury has so far failed to absorb the losses incurred by CEB due to street lighting.

Power Minister Champika Ranawaka said the CEB incurred a loss of Rs. 3 billion annually because of street lighting.

Following instructions by Ranawaka, The CEB Chairman Vidya Amarapala has decided to prevent local authorities from fixing new street lamps without its approval.

Ranawaka said that although the number of streetlamps countrywide was said to be around 400,000, electricity bills indicated that the actual number should be close to 700,000.

Nineteen years ago the CEB took up the responsibility of paying for street lighting in certain areas although previously the costs had been borne by local authorities, Ranawaka said.

Although the local authorities had agreed to follow the CEB guidelines in maintaining them they had failed to do so, he said.

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