The majority of Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) members have approved an increase in electricity tariffs by 66% effective from February 15, notwithstanding the objections raised by the commission’s chairman Janaka Ratnayake.

The electricity tariff hike proposal was passed as it was green-lighted by three PUCSL members, with Ratnayake vehemently opposing it.

On January 02, the PUCSL received a Cabinet-approved proposal from the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), seeking to increase electricity tariffs by 66% in order to secure additional revenue of LKR 287 billion for the utility to avoid losses.

However, as the electricity tariff hike proposal became embroiled in heated debates, the PUCSL chairman and its members continuously failed to reach a consensus on the matter.

Against this backdrop, two PUCSL members stepped down from their positions. Accordingly, on two occasions, new members were appointed to the commission to fill the vacant positions, with whom the commission’s chairman took into account the tariff revision proposals yesterday.

The electricity tariff revision proposal compiled by the PUCSL’s tariff division, to generate revenue of LKR 142 billion by increasing the tariffs by 36%, was tabled at the meeting of the commission’s members yesterday.

Three PUCSL members – Attorney-at-Law Chathurika Wijesinghe, Douglas Nanayakkara and S.G. Senaratne – opposed the proposed tariff revision, despite the go-ahead given by the PUCSL chairman.

The trio had, however, green-lighted the electricity tariff hike proposal of the CEB, which seeks to increase the tariffs by a staggering 66%. Although PUCSL chairman opposed this proposal, it was passed by the majority votes of the commission’s members.

Amidst the controversy, PUCSL chairman Janaka Ratnayake, speaking on the matter, said the CEB’s electricity tariff hike proposal is against the Electricity Act and the PUCSL Act, alleging that the commission’s members have been pressurized by politicians, CEB officials and Power & Energy Ministry officials. 

According to him, the charges for those who consume less than 90 units in the ‘domestic’ category will be increased by 250% as per the CEB’s tariff revision proposal.

Source –