ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will require selected consumers to pay electricity bills in dollars, the Public Service Utilities Commission (PUCSL) has said, as tariffs were raised for the first time in nine years amid crippling forex shortages.
Consumers from the Industry, Hotel and General categories who generate over 60 percent of revenue in foreign currency will have to pay bills in dollars from September 01, 2022, converted at the buying rate declared by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) for that date.
Consumers who fall under this scheme will receive a 1.5 percent discount on their bills.
The decision was made “despite several objections raised against the proposed scheme,” the PUCSL said.
Sri Lanka’s forex crisis is making it difficult to import essentials like fuel and gas, with suppliers unwilling to give the debt defaulted country grace periods to pay up.
The island has attempted to drive up its foreign reserves by cracking down on people sending in forex through unofficial systems and awarding premiums to those who use the banking system.
The Central Bank also attempted to induce expats to send in forex to approved bank accounts in April, but most resisted, saying that they would not send in money till then President Gotabaya Rajapaksha, who they blamed for the economic crisis, resigned.
After Rajapaksha’s resignation #srilankadollarchallenge trended briefly on Twitter, with expats sharing receipts of their forex transfers to Sri Lankan banks.
However, with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s alleged crackdown of protestors, some expats are once again saying that they will not help a president who “abuses” their people. (Colombo/Aug10/2022)