Reduced interest rate on late electricity bill payments

Monday, 1 April 2013 00:16 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

In a minor cushioning of the blow for electricity consumers following a whopping tariff increase commencing today, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has decided to restructure and reduce interest rates on late bill payments to the Ceylon Electricity Board and abolished a system of charging interest on bills after the disconnection of services.

In a statement the PUCSL said the new interest rate of 1.24% would apply retroactively to late CEB bill payments from 1 January 2013.

Issuing a media release, PUCSL Chairman Jayatissa De Costa PC said that the consumers had to previously pay 2% interest per month in late charges on electricity bills.

“The PUCL recently studied this interest formula and upon comparing it with current interest rates in the financial market. PUCL has decided to streamline these interest rates to correspond and reflect the interest rates in the market. A formula has been developed for this purpose and henceforth the percentage of interest will be determined according to this formula,” the statement said.

The statement said that while domestic consumers were provided a 30 day period to make bill payments while commercial consumers are given a 15 day period. “The CEB can only charge interest on domestic consumers’ bills,” the statement said.

The PUCSL has also decided to abolish the system of charging interest on late bill payments after a disconnection of supply has occurred.

“It has also been the practice for CEB to charge interest on bills that have resulted in disconnection of electricity supply after the disconnection takes place. Having received many consumer complaints on the matter, the PUCL has decided to abolish this system.  Following disconnection, consumers will no longer be charged an interest on their bills,” the statement said.

This system will also be applicable from 1 January 2013.

The statement by the Chairman also announced that the PUCL had informed the CEB to recommend the interest that could be paid for consumers’ security deposits as per section 28 of the Ceylon Electricity Act. “The PUCL has also asked the CEB to recommend a system to create a data base and audit of consumer security deposits.  The CEB has been informed the PUCL that these proposals will be submitted to the Commission by 30 April,” the statement added.