The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has opened channels for stakeholders to provide input and recommendations regarding the third electricity tariff revision slated for implementation in October 2023, as put forth by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
The move aims to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to review and offer their insights on the proposed changes. All stakeholders, including the public, are encouraged to participate in this crucial process by sharing their views and insights, contributing to the formulation of a well-informed decision that will impact the country's electricity landscape.
PUCSL Chairman Prof. Manjula Fernando revealed that the CEB has presented two distinct proposals for the third tariff revision of the year.
In an unconventional move, the CEB has expedited its submission, bypassing the usual January cycle, aligning with a Cabinet decision, he said.
'As per the Government's policy advice on electricity tariffs, CEB can submit proposals for the revision of electricity tariffs in January and July of the year. The next tariff revision is also scheduled to come into effect from January next year. However, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to move forward with the tariff revision scheduled for the month of January 2024 to this year according to the information presented by CEB on the differences in financial, electricity generation and electricity demand from the forecasted conditions. Accordingly, no tariff revision again next January. The CEB has estimated that there will be a loss of Rs. 31 billion this year,' he said.
As per the CEB's proposal, Prof. Fernando outlined adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances affecting power generation. 'Hydropower generation is anticipated to be limited to 3,750 GWh hours, a reduction from the expected 4,500 GWh. The Norochcholai coal power plant is also projected to generate less power due to unexpected malfunctions. This necessitated the acquisition of emergency power, impacting the tariff revision Prof. Fernando emphasised that the CEB has presented two options for consideration.'
'One involves a 22% increase in charges as a fuel surcharge for all consumers, while the other proposes an increase of Rs. 8 per electricity unit. The PUCSL's role is to thoroughly scrutinise these proposals, ensuring they align with the established tariff methodology. The final decision will be reached after an exhaustive review, taking into account public comments and suggestions,' he added.
The Chairman emphasised that the decision regarding the tariff revision will be made in accordance with the provisions of the Sri Lanka Public Utilities Commission Act and the Sri Lanka Electricity Act.
'The decision regarding the tariff revision will be made in accordance with the provisions of the Sri Lanka Public Utilities Commission Act and the Sri Lanka Electricity Act. According to Section 30 of the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, public opinions and suggestions should be listened to during tariff revision. Section 17 of the Sri Lanka Public Utilities Commission Act also states the need for public consultation. Accordingly, the Commission decided to seek public comments regarding the proposed tariff revision. All stakeholders including the public can submit their comments and suggestions to the commission in writing. In addition, the public has been given the opportunity to submit their comments and suggestions orally on 18 October,' Fernando noted.
Following a 66% hike in February 2023, the PUCSL later reduced the tariff to by a total of 14.2% from 1 July.
The electricity tariffs in the domestic category using less than 30 units were reduced by 65%, as the unit price was slashed from Rs. 30 to Rs. 10.
Meanwhile, the fixed charge for the first 30 units consumed will be reduced to Rs. 150. Furthermore, the tariff charged per unit for the units consumed from 31-60, which currently stands at Rs. 42 was reduced to Rs. 32.
The fixed charge for this category will be brought down to Rs. 300 from Rs. 650. The current rate of Rs. 42 for the category using 91-120 units was reduced to Rs. 35, while the category's current fixed charge of Rs. 1,500 was slashed to Rs. 1,000.