Majority Of CEB Employees To Stage Protest If Tariff Hike Is Passed
Majority of the 20,000 Ceylon Electricity Board employees would go on a massive protest campaign countrywide today if Parliament approves the proposed 65 per cent tariff hike, a senior trade unionist vowed.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance Convener Ranjan Jayalal yesterday said that if parliament endorses the tariff hike, all workers would be on the streets between 12 noon and 2.00 p.m. “We invite the public to join hands against the Power and Energy Ministry move to further burden the people with a fresh power tariff revision on top of the big increase imposed in August, while many were barely getting a square meal each day”, he said.
Meanwhile, the powerful Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) is organizing a press briefing tomorrow to spell out the stance. CEBEU is very critical about the move though some seniors had endorsed the hike saying the public is okay with a tariff hike.
Jayalal also said that though they will not disconnect power of those unable to pay their bills, those who can afford should pay.
He said that according to the proposal to be taken up at the Cabinet, a consumer who uses between 0-30 units will see their unit price increase from Rs. 8 to Rs. 30 while those in the 31-60 unit range will see an increase from Rs. 10 to Rs. 37. Consumers using between 61-91 units too will have to pay more, with the unit price increasing from Rs. 16 to Rs. 42. There will be no increases for consumers in categories above 91 units.
Fixed price increases too will be high, with consumers in the 0-30 unit category seeing an increase from Rs. 120 to Rs. 400. Those in the 31-60 unit range will see their fixed charges going up from Rs. 240 to Rs. 550 while those using between 61-91 units will see the fixed charge increase from Rs. 360 to Rs. 650. Consumers in the 91-120 unit range and 120-180 unit range will see fixed price increases from Rs. 960 to Rs. 1500. Consumers using more than 181 units will see an increase in fixed charges from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000.
Though it has only been four months since the last electricity tariff hike in August, the Power and Energy Ministry has justified the proposal for another tariff hike on the grounds that even at the current tariff level, the CEB will still incur a loss of approximately Rs. 287 billion in 2023. The hike is also necessary if the CEB is to provide power in 2023 without imposing power cuts, according to the proposal.