Electricity cheaper soon?
Nov 8, 2013

With the government toying with the idea of conducting polls for the Western, Southern and Uva Provincial Councils early next year, a downward power tariff revision is to be considered by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) - the authority that monitors the power sector in the country.

PUCSL Director General Damitha Kumarasinghe told Daily Mirror yesterday that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would submit its final accounts for the first six month of 2013 on November 15 to the PUCSL, and there was a strong possibility that it would consider a downward tariff revision, as the CEB had shown a significant improvement in its accounts.

“The high rainfall in the catchment areas has contributed to the generation of around 70% of the total hydropower capacity in the last six months. The price of a barrel of crude oil in the global market has remained between US$ 100 – US$110 and coal prices between US$ 45 – 50 per metric ton, from the previous US$ 70 per metric ton. All these plus factors have contributed to the improvement of the finances of the CEB and therefore, the CEB can afford a reduction of electricity prices without much ado,” Mr. Kumarasinghe said.

He said the CEB had also met the condition laid down by the PUCSL before the request for a tariff revision such as, the setting up of a Dispatch Planning Software before October 31, 2013, implementation of the bulk transaction account of the CEB before June 06, 2013, implementation of the power purchasing agreement between the permit holders of power generation and transmission, submission of long-term and mid-term coal purchasing agreement, submission of audited income of each and every permit-holder in 2011 and 2012 and the long-term and power generation and transmission plan.

The PUCSL had informed the CEB that it would not consider power tariff revisions unless the CEB fulfilled these conditions, when the last tariff revision was put into effect in April, 2013. Meanwhile, Chairman, CEB, W.B. Ganegala confirmed that if there was no major drought, and increased hydro-power generation was possible this year and in 2014, targeted implementation of Phase 3 of the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant at Puttalam came into effect, the CEB would be in a position to bring down the electricity bill by mid 2014.

By generating less costly hydro-power at 70% or more, the CEB did not collect a profit of a single rupee. On the contrary, the CEB was able to reduce its losses sharply and settle a huge fuel bill that had accumulated for years, to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).

“I am glad to say that the CEB will not be a burden to the Treasury hereafter or default the payment of fuel bills. The CEB is not in the red now. By reducing the use of thermal power considerably, the CEB has saved millions of dollars of foreign exchange which would otherwise have been spent on fuel imports. The CEB can assure that there will be no tariff hikes in the foreseeable future,” Mr. Ganegala added.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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