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Government asks electricity consumers to pay their bills, relief measures will follow

ECONOMYNEXT- The government is asking electricity consumers to pay their bills in full for now until a proper method for relief is found, a senior Minister said.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena asked the electricity consumers to pay up now until a proper relief method for the payments is introduced by the Cabinet next week.

Speaking at the cabinet briefing held this morning, he said that many ministers informed the Cabinet that there are a lot of complaints from electricity consumers that electricity bills are high as they had been issued bills for a period of three months at once.

Because metre readers did not come for several months due to the COVID related lockdown, the bills became hugely inflated as the surcharges mounted and the discounted portions of the bills were not included.

Gunawardena said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had instructed Minister Mahinda Amaraweera who is the subject minister to prepare a proper relief method for consumers by the next cabinet meeting.

He said a proper method will be presented by comparing the electricity bills for three months prior to March 2020 for each consumer and accordingly rectifying the amounts in the bills based on consumption.

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka has proposed a formula for the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) to use to provide consumers relief.

LECO has already implemented this formula and the relief measures will be visible in consumers’ bills in July, officials said.

The CEB has not yet implemented the PUCSL guidelines because of the large consumer base.

However, the subject of unfair power bills has become a major consumer issue and a government facing an imminent election needs to come up with a solution.

Both power companies have accepted the PUCSL guideline to not impose disconnections on consumers who have not paid up.

(Colombo/July2/2020)  Edited by Arjuna Ranawana