Two more FR cases filed against CEB tariff hike

Thursday, 16 March 2023 01:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Two more Fundamental Rights applications have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the electricity tariff hike approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) and implemented from 15 February by the Ceylon Electricity Board. 

The two fresh applications are by Asoka Abeygunawardhana and Electricity and Renewable Energy Consumers Association, Rev. Matara Ananda Sagara Thero and 4 others. Previously Janaka Ratnayake filed a FR case in his personal capacity despite being PUCSL Chairman.

The FR Application by Abeygunawardhana was in his capacity as a citizen of Sri Lanka and as a user of electricity and against PUCSL and its members and 6 others including CEB and Lanka Electricity Company Ltd.

The Application was made by him in his own rights as well as in the interest of the general public of Sri Lanka who are electricity users including particularly, low income earners and low electricity users who are worst affected and whose fundamental rights are adversely affected and infringed.

In his petition Abeygunawardhana has majorly challenged the process which the members of the PUCSL excluding the Chairman have taken the decision on electricity tariff hike claiming that the said decision is Ultra vires, unreasonable, irrational, arbitrary, evidently biased and/or in violation of legitimate expectations of his rights and other electricity consumers.

Secondly, he has claimed that the Tariff hike at lower slabs are as high as (275% for the 0-30 slab, 270% for the 31-60 slab; 162.5% for the 61-90 slab) and irreparable damage would be suffered Abeygunawardhana and particularly lower income-earning segments of society that require provision of electricity by CEB and LECO making them being unable to use electricity at all, if this decision of Tariff Revision would be implemented.

Abeygunawardhana further claimed that the PUCSL is duty bound to ensure that the interests of all electricity users are met when approving the revision of Tariff.

This Application is being supported by M. A. Sumanthiran PC and Viran Corea Attorney-At-Law as instructed by J. D. Ariyanayagam Attorney-At-Law.

The Electricity and Renewable Energy Consumers Association, Rev. Matara Ananda Sagara Thero and 4 others in their application claimed that the hike is wrongful, unlawful, illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory, irrational and unreasonable as it disproportionately affects the low income members of society who use between 0-90 kWh per month.

The Petitioners alleged that the PUCSL and its members have approved the Tariff Revision 2023 proposed by the CEB in its entirety which makes no change to the energy charge for high use of electricity, i.e. over 90kWh, and without subscribing to the statutory process specifically set out in the Sri Lanka Electricity Act. No. 20 of 2009, which casts a duty on the PUCSL and its members to protect the interests of all consumers.

This Application is being supported by Saliya Pieris PC with Niranjan Arulpragasam and Suren Gnanaraj instructed by Manjula Balasooriya.