CEB sitting pretty on cheap hydro power, refuses to lower tariff

By Ifham Nizam

A downward revision of electricity tariffs, as demanded by consumer groups, in light of exceptionally high production of cheap hydro power, would not come into being any time soon, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) officials said yesterday.

However, CEB Chairman W. B. Ganegala said already Rs. 50 billion in subsidy was given to the consumers and they would take into consideration expenses between January and December, this year, but any power revision would have to be decided by parties like the Treasury, CEB, CPC and the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL).

Besides, the CEB had released Rs. 18 billion to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to settle its debts, Ganegala said, adding that next two months would be a spell of drought and rains were expected again in October.

Ganegala said CEB had been able to curtail its expenditure by Rs. 30 bn this year by generating hydro power. He stressed that the CEB had not wasted a single cent of the benefits it got from hydro power generation during the recent months.

The CEB has earned an operational income of Rs. 125 bn, within the last six months, due to the tariff hike imposed in April this year; Energy expert, National Electricity Consumer Movement Convener Bandula Chandrasekera considers it one of the key indicators that the PUCSL should consider a downward price revision soon.

Hydro electricity accounts for more than 70 percent of the country’s power generation.

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