Electricity bills: CEB allows instalments

By Sarah Hannan

Accumulated utility bills have become a burden to consumers, with many worried that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will disconnect their power connections in the coming weeks citing huge outstanding bills, The Morning learnt.

Some consumers have not been able to pay their electricity bills for the past five months due to the extended lockdown period that was in place owing to Covid-19 prevention and control measures.

With many submitting complaints of being overcharged for their power usage to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the Minister of Passenger Transport Management, Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera has instructed the CEB to grant a grace period for consumers to settle the outstanding amounts.

Speaking to The Morning, Amaraweera requested consumers to settle their electricity bills up to February at the very least, after which they can discuss instalment options pertaining to the bills indicated for the months of March through May, with their respective CEB office.

“Many have lost jobs during the pandemic period and some are only earning 65% of their salaries due to financial constraints their employers are facing.

The Government is well aware of the situation and therefore, during a recent Cabinet meeting, it was decided that we are to provide a grace period for consumers to settle their utility bills,” Amaraweera noted.

Accordingly, consumers will be given a grace period for settling the accumulated bills for the months of March, April, and May. Further details regarding the arrangements should be discussed with the respective CEB area office.

“The total dues that need to be collected from domestic and industrial consumers for electricity usage during the lockdown and curfew period spanning March through May has amounted to over Rs. 2 billion. The inability for our meter readers to have visited establishments and households during that period to issue bills each month, has partly contributed to an accumulation of such a huge amount,” CEB Chairman Vijitha Herath noted.