CEB’s novel way of increasing revenue
Factories asked to pay a two-month security deposit


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The debt-ridden CEB has demanded what it calls a security deposit from bulk users with immediate effect.

Those in the manufacturing trade, including operating factories in export process zones have been asked to pay an amount equivalent to bills for two months on the basis of their November and December payments.

Industrialists told The Island that they had never heard of such an unfair plan to raise money. They alleged that the private sector shouldn’t be forced to pay for the incompetence, waste, corruption and irregularities in the public sector.

The move comes close on the heels of a controversial plan to levy a punitive tariff hike on those households which consume over 90 units of electricity a month.

Responding to a query, a top management official of a factory said that they would take up this issue with the Board of Investment shortly. He said that the CEB had always exercised the right to discontinue electricity service if any factory failed to settle electricity bills on time.

Power and Energy Ministry spokesperson Dhanushka Ramanayake, on Sunday, told The Island that there was provision to obtain a security deposit from those who had their services discontinued on two previous occasions. Ramanayake emphasised that those who had settled their electricity bills on time shouldn’t worry about having to deposit money.

However, sources said that Power and Energy Ministry seemed either ignorant of the CEB directive or trying to hoodwink the public. The CEB was trying to build a large fund at the expense of the bulk consumers as part of its overall strategy to curtail its losses, sources said adding that the bulk consumers would never be able to recover the money as long as they remained in operation.

The CEB, in spite of incurring heavy losses which it is planning to pass on to consumers by way of tariff hikes, continues to pay PAYE (Pay as You Earn) of all its employees in violation of a Treasury circular.

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