CEB’s mountain of debt still remains

By Ifham Nizam

The Ceylon Electricity Board’s outstanding short term debt, to the People’s Bank alone, stands at a staggering Rs. 42.8 billion, a senior official said.

The Island reliably learns that the Treasury transfers Rs.24 billion to the Board annually; however discussions are underway over the Treasury’s request that the Board manage without the annual infusion of funds from the Finance Ministry from 2014.

The CEB’s long term outstanding debts stand at Rs. 240 billion. However, a senior engineer told The Island that it included project loans taken with repayment periods spread over 10 to 15 years.

CEB Media Spokesman, Deputy General Manager Business and Operations Strategy, Senajith Dassanayake told The Island the Board was able to bring down its debt to CPC by about Rs. 13,500 million between January 2013 and October 2013.

The Board had reduced the debt to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) by about Rs. 18,000 million within the same period. However, he added that CEB was so far not able to bring down the short term borrowings from the People’s Bank.

The CEB files information, such as actual and forecast power plant operational patterns, cost of energy including purchases from IPPs, operational costs and all revenues, to the PUCSL for every six-month period. Electricity tariffs might be reviewed by the PUCSL every six months according to the above information.

He added that increased hydro generation has however reduced the fuel oil imports to the Country and the revenue thus saved had been utilised to settle the outstanding debt to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and unsettled bills of the IPPs.

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