The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has issued fresh guidelines in consultations with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) to grant a grace period for consumers to settle their accumulated electricity bills during the curfew period while also ensuring that concessionary rates are applied when issuing monthly electricity bills.
“The guidelines were prepared to calculate the electricity bills according to the number of electricity units (pro-rata basis) received at concessionary rates, despite the delay in issuance of bills and to provide a sufficient time period to settle the electricity bills,” the PUCSL said.The PUCSL has considered the proposals made by CEB and LECO as well as complaints by some of the electricity consumers when preparing these guidelines.
Accordingly, CEB and LECO have been instructed to issue bills on a monthly basis and as separate bills for each month during quarantine curfew period, ensuring the entitlement of the concessionary rate for the electricity units.
As the gap period between the last meter reading and the next meter reading could exceed over one billing cycle, the total consumption (units of electricity) for that period is to be divided equally for each billing period or month (confirming prorate basis or concessionary electricity tariff) when issuing bills.
“If CEB/LECO has issued two or more monthly bills together for the curfew period and immediately after, it is requested to consider either granting concessionary terms of payments for customers and obtain the Commission’s approval where necessary,” PUCSL noted.
Considering that some customers already have received an estimated bill without proper reading of the meter, the PUCSL instructed the two electricity providers to revise any potential differences between the estimated number of units and in the number of units issued after reading the meter in reading of the next billing cycle and to inform the consumers of such amendments.The CEB and LECO have also agreed not to disconnect electricity supplies for any of their customers until they announce a grace period and conditions to pay the electricity bills during the period.
Further, the PUCSL announced that the electricity connections would not be disconnected in the event of complaints regarding current or future bills that have been issued until issuance of bills is properly on time.
“CEB and LECO will resolve such consumer complaints expeditiously. The consumer can also refer their problem to the PUCSL, in the event the consumer does not agree with the solution provided regarding their electricity bill complaint,” the electricity sector regulator added.
The PUCSL also encouraged electricity consumers to support the financial situation of the two utility providers by settlings the bills that are overdue promptly, as they have been providing electricity to consumers continuously during the quarantine period without receiving payments.