CEB refuses to limit power cuts during exams despite regulator request

COLOMBO – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) on Monday (23) rejected a request by the power regulator Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) to limit power cuts during to the ongoing advanced level exams, citing the high cost of generating power.

The PUCSL requested the CEB to avoid power cuts during the examination times from January 23 to February 17 and after 7:00 p.m. as thousands of students across the country are sitting for the Advanced Level examinations, which are used as entrance exam for state universities.

However, the CEB responding to the request said, due to the higher additional cost, it is not in a position to avoid power interruptions proposed by the PUCSL.

“The cost as we informed is higher than we can bear,” said CEB Spokesman Dhammika Navaratne.

To avoid power interruptions during time frames, thermal plants (both CEB and IPP) have to be additionally utilized, CEB said.

“The additional cost is 4.1 billion rupees to purchase fuel to supply power continuously during the day time, and estimate for continuous power supply after 7:00 p.m. is approximately 2.4 billion rupees,”Navaratne pointed out.

State run fuel provider, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has refused to provide fuel to CEB on credit, the utility provider said adding that it is also facing cash flow issues.

Even though the Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara has requested to increase the electricity tariff, the PUCSL opposed it saying, the tariff hike on August 2022 is more than sufficient for the CEB to manage cost.

In the recent national Council meeting, a majority of the PUCSL commission took a U-turn on their decision and has agreed with the cabinet decision to implement an interim tariff.

“Peoples Bank or other banks have refused to give credit facilities to CEB as they do not foresee a capability of CEB to payback any loans based on CEB’s earnings / cash flow forecast without a tariff increase” CEB said.


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