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82-year-old files FR Petition against CEB

2013 Jul 11



An 82-two-year old Engineer, with considerable experience in thermal generation, coal power and hydro electricity, Marcus Vincent Romanis, filed a Fundamental Rights Petition against the increase in electricity tariffs imposed by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), in the Supreme Court, yesterday (9).



In his Petition, Romanis states the Fundamental Rights of the people have been violated by increasing the tariff, and in his view, the price of electricity in Sri Lanka is one of the highest in the world, and is as much as 50% higher than most other countries.



The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUBSL), the Director General of PUCSL, the Chairman and the General Manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board, the Minister of Power and Energy, Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy, President of the Institute of Engineers, President of the Organization of Professional Associations, Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises, Secretary to the President and the Attorney General, have been cited as respondents by the petitioner.



Attorney-at-Law, Nuwan Kodikara, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, said the only solution to overcome the massive loss incurred by the Ceylon Electricity Board, is to accelerate coal power projects and save over Rs 1 billion, everyday.

The proposed flat rate tariff is not a solution to address the colossal losses of the CEB, and is more draconian than the flat rate tariff that the Supreme Court dismissed in 2008, the petitioner stated.



The petitioner further stated the CEB and the PUCSL had not followed the directives given by the Supreme Court in 2008 with regard to the cost of a unit of electricity at Rs 12.50, which was less than the earlier cost of a unit of electricity, computed at Rs 14.50.



The CEB should be made to act in accordance with the statutory clause in Section 11 of the CEB Act No. 17 of 1969, and thereafter carry out its functions according to Section 38 which protects the public from unlawful actions, the petitioner stated.



The petitioner also requested the Court to grant leave to proceed with the Petition and declare that the Fundamental Rights of the people had been violated by the respondents.



The Petition also highlighted that the Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy has been spending public funds on advertisements, arbitrarily, asking the people to reduce the consumption of electricity, when in fact, Sri Lanka's per capita consumption of electricity is one of the lowest in the world.

The Petition will be taken up for consideration on 4 October 2013 before the Supreme Court.

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