ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state run Ceylon Electricity Board lost 20.8 billion rupees up to April 2020, on top of a 85.4 billion rupee loss in 2019, as revenues and sales fell amid a Coronavirus lockdowns and a cash injection was made, official data showed.
Electricity sales volumes fell 15 percent to 4,016 GigaWatt hours (millions of units) in the first four months of 2020, a Finance Ministry report said, with low demand from industry holes and general purposes business amid a Covid-19 lockdown.
Revenues had fallen 14 percent to 67.2 billion rupees from 78,254 billion a year earlier.
The operation loss was 25,905 million in the first four months of 2020, up from 23,115 million last year.
Last year CEB lost 85.4 billion rupees. State-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) gives furnace oil at high fixed prices to the CEB which is not linked to market costs.
The finance ministry said furnace oil price were cut to 70 rupees in March 2020, from 92 rupees earlier. CEB officials had warned that wrong pricing leads plants which use fuel which are more costly to import being operated according to a merit order.
The CEB also could not collect revenues amid curfews, which drove bank loans to 107.9 billion rupees by April 2020 from December 89,420.
A the end of April, the government had given 48 billion rupees to from fuel price stabilization fund (FPSP) from taxes levied from fuel sales.
The fund was supposed to be made from taxes on fuel with retail prices being kept stable when oil prices fall.
Data from the central bank showed that 50 billion rupees were printed for the fund for reasons which are not clear.
However, the Finance Ministry said the 48 billion rupee injection kept the arrears to the CPC and Independent Power Producers at 100.9 billion rupees. (Colombo/July15/2020-sb)