The Government will not increase electricity rates despite the diesel price hike.
Power and Energy Minister W.J.Seneviratna said that the Government was not prepared to raise electricity rates concurrently with escalating diesel prices.
` A Ministerial Subcommittee is discussing the matter,` he said and added,` it must be mentioned that the relief given to the public by refraining in resorting to rate hikes on electricity, has resulted in Ceylon Electricity Board being pushed to the deep end.`
Minister Seneviratna gave this assurance addressing the public at Godakawela, Kahawatta after declaring open a CEB Customer Service Centre for the area. Of the country`s total power generating capacity 65 per cent is obtained from diesel operated power stations, and the increased diesel prices have a direct effect on electricity production considering the cost factor, the minister pointed out.
`A unit of electricity is produced at a cost of Rs. 12.80 but is sold at Rs. 10.80 to the public,` he explained.
He also said that the country`s annual demand for electricity was increasing by 150 megawatts every year. ` We have been able to add 80 megawatts to the National Grid with the Kukuleganga project for the last two decades.` `The failure to meet electricity demands of the country stands out as a big problem confronting us . We will have added 200 megawatts to the National Grid by the end of May , 2008 with the establishment of the Kerawalapitiya Power Station,` he said.
`But there will be no new power stations for 2009. However, by the end of 2011, we will have Norochcholai and the Upper Kothmale power stations operating,` he added.