June 14, 2024
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    Anticipated Passage of Amended Electricity Act in April-Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara Featured

    March 08, 2024

    Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera, announced that the revised Electricity Act has been sent to the Legal Draftsman’s Department for review.

    He anticipates presenting it to Parliament for approval in April following Cabinet endorsement. Additionally, the minister expressed readiness to engage stakeholders to discuss reducing fuel prices further through a transparent pricing formula. These remarks were made during his participation in a press conference titled ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ held today (07) at the Presidential Media Centre.

    Addressing the media briefing Minister Wijesekera further said;

    “Effective from midnight on March 5, 2024, electricity charges saw a significant reduction of 21.9%. Notably, consumers using less than 30 units will experience a remarkable 33% decrease in unit price, while those in the 31-60 unit category will witness a reduction of 28%. Moreover, bills for consumers utilizing 60-90 units will decrease by 30%, and for those consuming between 90 and 180 units, bills were lowered by 24%.

    Domestic consumers exceeding 180 units experienced an 18% reduction in fees, while religious establishments benefited from a 33% decrease. Similarly, hotels and industrial sectors saw an 18% reduction, with a 23% decrease in public works and 22% for the public sector. Street lights also experienced a 20% reduction in charges.

    However, concerns remain regarding whether restaurant prices have correspondingly decreased and the need for substantial relief in public service categories. These issues extend beyond the scope of the Electricity Board or the Ministry. Additionally, recent heavy rainfall alleviated power generation challenges, partially offsetting the 2022 loss of over Rs. 270 billion. The strengthening rupee, amidst economic stabilization, significantly reduced electricity generation costs, further aided by a decrease in interest rates.

    Efforts to mitigate electricity bills continue, including utilizing the first instalment of the $100 million Indian loan to provide solar panels for public spaces like schools, defence camps, universities, and religious sites. Emphasis is on adopting cost-effective methods to supplement existing power plants and reduce excessive electricity purchases, ensuring sustainable electricity affordability.

    Our upcoming endeavour aims to integrate the Siambalanduwa Power Generation Project into the national grid by the latter half of 2025. This initiative will provide the Electricity Board with a capacity of one hundred megawatts at a cost of Rs. 25 or 26 per unit. Concurrently, we are exploring several similar large-scale projects, with significant support from numerous stakeholders.

    Additionally, we have unveiled ten wind and solar projects to attract both local and foreign investors. Plans are underway to release a tender notice next week for the establishment of a 50 MW wind farm in the Mannar area.

    Efforts to further alleviate fuel prices are underway, with discussions planned with stakeholders to review the fuel pricing formula.

    Moreover, the gazette pertaining to the restructuring of the Electricity Board was published last December. Following feedback from stakeholders, political parties, and trade unions regarding the proposed amendments, 46 revisions have been forwarded to the Legal Draftsman’s Department for clearance. Upon cabinet approval, we aim to present the revised bill to parliament in April for enactment into law.”

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