The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has incurred nearly Rs. 1.7 billion in losses till September over unpaid bills, promoting the entity to cut supply by 15 December, a statement from the Power and Energy Ministry said yesterday.
Over Rs. 1.6 billion has been lost to CEB due to non-payment of bills from State, domestic and private sector organisations, the statement said.
“Five per cent of the Rs. 1.7 billion should come directly from State organisations while about 40% should be paid by Government organisations for the use of street lamps. Around 80% of electricity is currently generated by thermal power, resulting in Rs. 20-Rs.25 spent on each unit.”
Nonetheless, for the first 30 units used by consumers the cost is Rs. 3 and since most consumers do not use beyond 90 units a month, their payment remains at Rs. 7.50 per unit. The statement went on to say that despite the CEB supplying electricity at high cost with no power cuts, consumers have made no effort to pay their bills on time resulting in massive losses.
It added that the CEB, which controls all the large-scale coal, hydro and thermal power plants in the country, spends millions each day supplying power and cannot continue to do so unless the payments are made immediately.
The bulk of Sri Lanka’s power stems from hydroelectricity but prevailing drought conditions have forced the CEB to spend excessively on oil imports to power thermal plants, leading to a jump in production prices.
However, as selling prices have remained the same, the CEB has informed the public that it will be forced to discontinue power to hundreds of households, State enterprises and private companies unless the bills are settled before 15 December.
“Therefore the CEB management has decided to cut power to all organisations that have no settled their bills by 15 December and this will be applied across the board,” the press release insisted.