Sri Lanka reverses electricity tariff reforms for religious places after protests

However, the service provider, state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said no final decision has been taken yet.

“As per the information given by the PUCSL Chairman, when the religious places consume more than 180 units, considering those places under the General Purpose category, the price per unit will be brought down to 32 rupees from 65 rupees,” Ravi Kumudesh, the Convener of Trade Union Alliance,  said.

A pre-planned protest against the price hike was cancelled after the affirmation given by the PUCSL chairman Janaka Rathnayake, that the prices will be reduced for religious places that will be consuming more than 180 units, Kumudesh said.

“After the meeting held with PUCSL on October 06, PUCSL informed us that the electricity bill that was received last month will be reduced by more than 50 percent in the coming month.”

The PUCSL chairman Janaka Rathnayake was not immediately available for comments.

Some leading monks last month started a protest against the tariff hike and threatened to blackout Buddhist temples and not to pay electricity bills with revised up tariffs.

Governments in Sri Lanka never want to antagonize with Buddhist leaders fearing such conflicts could lead to electoral defeats as monks have the independence to take political stance and directly involve in politics.

Andrew Navamani, the spokesman for the CEB, said the PUCSL has sent directives to the electricity bill amendments that was implemented in August, 2022.

“However, no decisions have been taken yet on that and the discussions are ongoing,” Navamani told EconomyNext on Saturday (8).

The Ministry of Power and Energy previously agreed to install solar panels through a credit for the selected religious places, but to be paid for by the connection holder over the time, as a solution to an electricity tariff hike which has led to a standoff between the government and the clergy.

Related ; Sri Lanka power tariff hike: ministry offers olive branch to protesting monks

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