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Electricity tariff claims first victim

2013 Jul 01

By Shivanthi Fernando
and M. Malintha

 

A senior citizen succumbed to a heart attack yesterday after learning that his electricity bill has increased by an exorbitant amount, when he arrived at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Head Office, Colombo, to pay his monthly bill.
Ceylon Today learns, S.P.P.G. Samaradasa, a 61-year-old resident of Robert Gunawardena Mawatha, Battaramulla, had arrived at the CEB with his bill, between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m., and had inquired from an official at the counter, the reason for its significant increase. Upon receiving an answer, he had sat down in the waiting area before sliding down to the floor, seemingly unconscious.

 

However, it had immediately become evident that Samaradasa had passed away, and the cause of death was identified as heart attack. According to the Outdoor Patient Department (OPD) of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL), where Samaradasa was taken by ambulance from the CEB premises, he had already died by the time he was brought to the hospital.

 

General Secretary of the CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance, Ranjan Jayalal, commenting on the matter said, "We strongly suggest that senior citizens with known medical conditions should not be sent to pay the bills from now on, because many of them can die after taking a look at their monthly bill. No CEB officials are willing to speak about this matter as well. An emergency medical unit should be placed at the bill payment counters of CEB offices in the country, as the consumers' health cannot be taken lightly."

 

He also said this was one of many occasions when electricity consumers had complained of the increased bills.

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