Colombo (Daily Pakistan Online) The Electricity Board of Sri Lanka has increased the rates for consumers by 275%. It is the second major hike in electricity prices in recent months as the bankrupt country’s government works to secure an IMF bailout.
An unprecedented financial crisis last year left 22 million Sri Lankans with months of food and fuel shortages, along with prolonged power load shedding. The government is in default on its $46 billion foreign debt and is finalizing a rescue package with the International Monetary Fund to restore its battered finances.
According to news agency AFP, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara told reporters that “we had to increase the electricity charges as per the terms of the IMF that we cannot get handouts from the treasury. We have to meet our expenses.” There is a need to generate revenue. Domestic consumers will now pay at least 30 rupees (eight cents) per kilowatt-hour for electricity, in line with the average tariff in neighboring India.
The recent 275 percent hike in the lowest tariff follows a 264 percent hike that was implemented six months ago. Wijesekara said the rate hike will eliminate the 140 minutes of daily load shedding currently in force in Sri Lanka.