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CEB Jacks Up Rates By 86%

Jan 1, 2011 2:20:55 PM - thesundayleader.lk
  • Peak Hour Industry Electricity Price

The new peak hour electricity industry rate of Rs. 16.90 per unit, an 86% hike applicable from this year is going to hit the country’s manufacturing sector.
Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) considers the peak electricity time covering the four hour period from 6.30 PM to 10.30 PM. The previous rate was some Rs. 9.10 a unit.
“That means my electricity bill will go up by 50%,” Randolph Perera, Chairman, Canro, a coconut fibre products exporter told The Sunday Leader.
Canro operates four factories in the Wayamba Province employing 200.
“Already my monthly electricity bill for the four factories that I operate is Rs. 600,000;” he said. Companies such as Canro are classified as bulk electricity consumers with transformers aiding the supply of electricity to such premises because of the high amperage current required to run the same.
“I’m exploring three options to get over this problem, one is to stop overtime; another is to introduce a new shift, circumventing CEB’s peak rate applicability and the other is to pass on the increased costs to the importer,” Perera said.
He operates two shifts in his factories, one from 6AM to 2PM and the other from 2PM to 10PM with a number of his workers on both shifts to earn some extra money. It’s the second shift that will get caught to CEB’s peak hour “trap.”
It’s also Perera’s workers’ double shift that will be affected by it being scrapped in the event Perera reins in his overtime bill to make-up for the extra electricity cost that he will have to bear due to the rate hike.
A number of his factory workers are women. The practicality of introducing a new shift, say from 11.30 PM to 7.30 AM the following day in order to escape CEB’s high peak hour charges has to be looked at in the context that quite a few of these women have children, said Perera.
They have to send their children to school. But a 11.30 PM to 7.30 AM shift will affect this arrangement. Another is the question of productivity, which, according to Perera is poor in a night shift.
He further said that this new industry electricity rate is not only going to affect him, a coconut fibre exporter, but will have an impact on virtually the total coconut sector, from coconut oil millers to fibre extractors to desiccated coconut millers.