Committee appointed to recommend relief to electricity consumers

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Ministry of Power and Energy has appointed a 04- member committee to make recommendations on providing relief to consumers who faced irregularities in their electricity bills during the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister of Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera said the report compiled by the committee is expected to be handed over by Monday (06).

Earlier, it was brought to the attention of the Ministry that many consumers were overcharged during the lockdown that was implemented in March due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Sri Lanka.

The Ministry in February extended the grace period granted for the payment of electricity bills by 2 months, by combining the bills issued for March and April.

This was due to consumers being unable to settle their outstanding electricity bills due to the islandwide Police curfew imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Ministry also decided not to include the additional unit charges that would be incurred due to the high domestic usage of electricity during this period.

However, consumers from certain areas were overcharged with the inclusion of additional unit charges, incurred due to the combining of bills for March and April, and the existing system under which charges are added for extra units after 13- days of the last date to settle the outstanding bill.

Minister Amaraweera at the time told the Colombo Gazette that this was an error and will be rectified.

An estimated electricity bill, including the additional unit charges has been sent to certain consumers for the months of March and April, he added.

Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) also took steps to ensure fairness for electricity consumers in issuing monthly electricity bills and allowing a grace period to pay the monthly bills.

The two entities issued special guidelines to calculate the electricity bills according to the number of electricity units (pro-rata basis) received at concessionary rates, despite the delay in issuance of bills and to provide a sufficient time period to settle the electricity bills.

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