Treasury to provide Rs. 48,000 m to CEB | Sunday Observer

Treasury to provide Rs. 48,000 m to CEB

19 July, 2020

The Treasury will provide Rs.48,000 million to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to settle a part of the debt, the Ceylon Electricity Board(CEB) owes to the CPC, Power and Energy Ministry sources told the Sunday Observer.

This is partly to safeguard the CPC’s interests while ensuring concessions to the already burdened electricity consumers, post Covid-19. The Cabinet of Ministers last week on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s directive decided to match the March, April and May electricity bills with that of February and grant a grace period of two months to consumers to pay their bills.

The CPC losses incurred due to non settlement of dues by the CEB was discussed at the Cabinet meeting. The loss due the Covid-19 lockdown was about three thousand million rupees.

Around 6.8 million households consume electricity islandwide and it was assumed that the March, April and May electricity use would be more than the other months, due to the lockdown.

In 2019, the CEB owed Rs.85, 000 million to the CPC. This is expected to increase to Rs.93,000 million by the end of 2020.

President Rajapaksa has directed officials to grant maximum relief to electricity consumers for March, April and May.

Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) information officer Jayanat Herat said during the first six months of this year, they had received 1,100 complaints on electricity supply, the majority of which related to billing and metre issues. The PUC too had given several guidelines to the CEB to protect electricity consumers.

With the approval of the Cabinet, Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera appointed a committee to look into the issues of electricity billing during the lockdown. The committee’s recommendations including a 25 per cent concession up to the consumption of 90 units were presented to the Cabinet two weeks earlier. However, the President directed Minister Amaraweera to grant maximum relief to consumers.