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Friday March 31st, 2023

Sri Lanka utility regulator asks public to minimise electricity use at night

ECONOMYNEXT – The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has asked the public to minimise electricity use during night-time peak hours and support the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to provide electricity without power shedding.

In a statement issued on Wednesday (09), PUCSL asked consumers to refrain from using high electricity consuming household devices such as hot plates, water heaters, irons, washing machines and air conditions during the night peak from 6pm to 10pm.

The CEB said the night peak demand for Wednesday was expected to be 2,640 MW.

According to the CEB, 1,588 MW from thermal power plants, 1090 Mw from Hydro and 55 MW from non-conventional renewable energy was expected to be used to meet the demand.

CEB spokesman Additional General Manager, Andrew Navamani, told reporters on Tuesday (09) that the Kelanitissa Combined Cycle power plant which operates using naphtha would be temporarily shut down from 9pm that to transfer one million liters of naphtha. It was scheduled to be restarted Thursday (10) morning.

“Also the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation agreed to issue 350 metric tons of heavy fuel oil only for today. Out of that, we’re planning to take 200metric tons to Sapugaskanda B and rest of the 150metric tons to Sapugaskanda A,” Navamani said.

With the available fuel, the CEB said, the barge-mounted power plant at the Colombo Port can generate electricity for 0.9 days, Sapugaskanda A for another 1.3 days, Sapugaskanda B for another 1.4 days, the Uthuru Janani power plant for another 12.7 days, and the Kelanitissa power station for another 1.6 days.

The CEB said 1,140 metric tons of furnace oil, 950 metric tons of naphtha and 2,590 metric tons of diesel is needed for thermal power generation. However, only 1,116 metric tons of furnace oil, 600 metric tons of naphtha and 2,190 metric tons of diesel are available in stocks.

The board added that due to water levels in reservoirs decreasing, the Water Management Secretariat will restrict power generation in Castlereigh, Mausakelle and Samanalawewa hydro power stations in the near future. (Colombo/Feb09/2022)

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Sri Lanka tax hike: no response from president, professionals to discuss next steps

GMOA Secretary Haritha Alutghe

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s trade unions and professional associations who have been agitating against an International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed progressive tax hike will meet to discuss further union action after a letter to the president went unanswered.

Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge told reporters on Friday March 31 that the unions will meet as the self-styled Professionals’ Trade Union Alliance (PTUA) collective which have so far been organising strikes and demonstrations demanding a revision of the taxes.

The PTUA has been awaiting a promised meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe for some days now. Aluthge previously said on Monday that if the meeting did not materialise, the unions would be compelled to go on strike.

The issue has become stagnant due to government inaction, said Aluthge at Friday’s press conference.

“The PTUA informed the president in writing yesterday for the last time to please understand the gravity of this situation and to immediately give us a meeting and present the government’s interim solution, through which the government can take measures to ease the sense of tension among professionals,” he said.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss an “interim solution” to the professionals’ grievances over the progressive income tax hike until a reported revision that’s due in six months when the country’s recently approved 17th IMF programme comes up for review.

“Sadly, there has still been no response,” the GMOA official said.

All unions and professional associations will meet Friday evening together with a number of other unions to discuss further action, he added.

The privately-owned English-language weekly newspaper The Sunday Times reported on March 26 that the IMF had indicated the possibility of revising some of the taxes imposed as part of the IMF’s staff-level agreement with Sri Lanka when the programme comes up for review in six months.

According to the newspaper, IMF officials had conveyed this to representatives of trade unions during a virtual roundtable held last Friday March 24. The virtual meeting was held on the initiative of the IMF and was attended by trade unions and professional associations representing the PTUA including the GMOA. (Colombo/Mar31/2023)

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Sri Lankan transport associations cut haulage and transportation fees after fuel price cut

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka Association of Container Transporters and fuel bowser owners has decided to reduce the haulage charges and transportation fee, after the government cut the auto diesel prices by 80 rupees, association officials said.

“Due to the recent reduction in Auto Diesel price from March30, 2023, the committee has decided to reduce haulage charges by 7 percent,” association said.

Sri Lanka Private Petroleum Tanker owners has also decided to reduce the transportation fee of fuel by 8 -10 percent from April onwards.

“We will be meeting with the association members and will be deciding on exactly how much we will be reducing,” the General Secretary of the association Nimal Amarasekera told EconomyNext.

“We hope to reduce it by 8-10 percent and will be applied.”

Meanwhile United Lanka Fuel Transport Bowser Owners Association said, the price reduction will be done, and the specific amount will be calculated using the cost per kilometer for a transporting bowser.

“We have different types of bowsers such as 13,200 litre and 19,800 litre likewise,” Association President K.W. Charles told EconomyNext.

“So the cost per kilometer per bowser is different and after we calculate only we can give a specific percentage.

“It will come to effect from this month and the payments for the next month will be based on the new prices.”

Charles said, this is only based on the price reduction of fuel, however several costs as maintenance and spare part costs should also be considered when deciding the transportation cost, which is also being discussed with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

Sri Lanka slashed fuel prices with effect from Wednesday (29) midnight, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said, after a protest by trade unions of state-run fuel retailer Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) resulting in queues at filling stations due to supply disruption.

The price of Petrol 92 Octane will be slashed by 15 percent or 60 rupees to 340, Petrol 95 Octane 95 will be reduced by 26.5 percent or 135 rupees to 375, Auto Diesel by 19.8 percent or 80 rupees to 325, and kerosene by 3.3 percent or 10 rupees to 295. (Colombo/ March31/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up in mid day trade

Stock Market. Free public domain CC0 image.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged up in mid day trade on Friday, Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) data showed.

All Share Price Index was up 1.09 percent or 100.69 points to 9,329.19, while the most liquid index was up 1.23 percent or 32.86 points to 2,697.12.

The market generated a turnover of 895 million rupees.

Top gainers during mid day trade were Commercial Bank, Hatton National Bank and Expolanka. (Colombo/Mar31/2023)


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