The JVP yesterday urged the people to refuse to pay the newly introduced electricity rates and instead take to the streets immediately to protest against the hike.
JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a news conference that it was the responsibility of the people to take to the streets against this unfair move by the government. “There won’t be an end to people’s suffering if they fail to take some action,” he said.
Mr. Silva also charged that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had been proven to be a completely useless body as it had allowed the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to increase the electricity bills the way it wanted. “The PUC which is supposed to listen to the people had failed in its duty in these circumstances,” he said. He said 95 percent of the people who went before the PUC did not want a hike but it had not taken this fact into consideration.
The JVP General Secretary charged that the new tariff system was designed to add more burden on those in the lowest social strata while the elite group had been spared. Accordingly he said the electricity Bill of a household which uses 90 units will increase roughly by around Rs 1200.
Elaborating further on the new electricity tariff system, Mr. Silva said the earlier system of changing the rate when the number of units increases had been done away with. Citing an example he said according to the earlier system Rs 2 was charged for the first 30 units while Rs 5 was charged for the next 30 units. But according to the new system the amount charged for the second 30 units will be charged for the entire 60 units used.
Also he said the electricity bills were increased following the advice of World Bank and the IMF. (Yohan Perera)