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Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 11:17 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankans asked to conserve energy, concessions remain despite tariff hike

Apr 18, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government today stressed the need to conserve energy as the country can produce only 20 percent of the energy requirement by hydropower and urged the public to use electricity wisely reducing consumption.

Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella addressing a media conference today said the responsibility of using electricity economically rests solely with the people.

The Minister pointed out that with the industrial development energy demand has increased considerably and the hydropower, which depends on the monsoonal rains, only accounts for a 20 percent of the requirement. The rest has to be generated by the more costly furnace oil plants.

Unlike the other countries in the region, Sri Lanka is providing electricity without any interruption and the government is committed to making electricity available to all people of Sri Lanka, the Minister said.

The government has focused on low-cost power generation and plans to add more coal power plants during the next five years, the Minister said adding that the government has also given approval to establish 185 small hydropower plants.

Minister Rambukwella also said the government is gradually reducing purchase of electricity from the private sector at a higher cost.

The state-owned power monopoly, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) meanwhile has said that despite the tariff hike, it has not abandoned the policy of providing electricity at concessionary prices to various sections and the concessions will remain.

According to the CEB, the government provides Rs. 26 billion of concessions annually to the public and a concession of Rs. 23 billion to the industries. A concession of Rs. 1 billion each is given to hotel industry and to charitable institutions.

The new electricity rates will be effective from April 20th.

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