Electricity tariff hike to go live next week

The new electricity prices will be implemented from next week, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said yesterday (10). 

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) this week hiked the electricity tariff by an average cost of 75% for all consumers. 

“The new electricity price for low-income consumers is at a considerable percentage lower than the cost of producing one unit of electricity, for low-income consumers. Thus, electricity tariffs were amended with this relief. These new prices will be implemented from next week,” said Wijesekera while speaking in Parliament.

He explained that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has spent Rs. 23.9 billion monthly for the production of electricity, while only receiving a monthly income of Rs. 21.7 billion. 

“But due to the increase in coal and fuel in the past year, now the monthly cost is Rs. 33 billion. The electricity tariff has not been amended since 2014. The new prices do not cover the entire cost of production, but we will manage that by aiming to reduce the cost of production by introducing new renewable energy projects. New electricity generation projects have not been implemented in this country since 2014, which is one of the main reasons for the high cost of production now,” said Wijesekera. 

Commenting specifically on the relief measures that have previously been provided to religious places, Wijesekera said that only about Rs. 1.90 was charged for a unit of electricity from religious places that consumed less than 30 units per month. 

“Their monthly bill was only Rs. 87 and that is what will go to Rs. 350 with the amended prices. Religious places that use 185 units only paid Rs. 1,057 previously. I believe that we need to manage these, and that low-income consumers need to get some relief. That is how this was decided.”

The electricity tariff was hiked for the first time in nine years on Tuesday (9). Accordingly, consumers who use 30 or less units will face a 264% increase, bringing their average monthly bill to Rs. 198. Consumers who use 30-60 units will face a 211% increase, which will result in an average monthly bill of Rs. 599. Furthermore, consumers using 61-90 units will face a 125% hike, leading to an average monthly bill of Rs. 1,461.