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Power Price Hike Heading To Court

Dr Jayalath Jayawardena and Vijitha Herath

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

The recent power price hike is set for a major legal wrangle with the main opposition political party in the country preparing to file action against it. Opposition parties are also planning to carry out continuous protest campaigns throughout the island against the electricity tariff hike.
Leading the legal campaign is the main opposition UNP which is currently exploring avenues for filing action against the electricity tariff hike which came into effect on April 20.

Head of the UNP trade union arm, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, Parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said the electricity tariff hike is in violation of a previous Supreme Court determination in a case filed by Ven. Thiniyawela Palitha Thera.

He explained that the Court had clearly set-out that the CEB should consult all stakeholders before increasing tariffs.
He noted that despite the lack of an independent judiciary in the country, the party had no option but to go before Court to seek some form of redress.

“We will carry out protest campaigns against the government’s move,” Dr Jayawardena said.

Meanwhile, the JVP said the party would not file legal action against the electricity tariff revision since they no longer had any faith in the country’s judicial system.

The party’s Propaganda Secretary, Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said the only option was to resort to a mass agitation campaign.
Referring to the comment made by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) that a request could be made to revise the electricity tariffs in another six months, Herath observed that such comments were being made with the aim of misleading the people.

“They want the people to live in hope that the electricity prices would be reduced when in reality it would never happen,” he said. He pointed out that the authorities have already gone on record to the effect that electricity tariffs would be reduced only when the number of power plants in the country is increased and generation costs decline.

“All these comments show that the government is not sincere when saying electricity tariffs would be reduced,” Herath said.
The JVP has already commenced a protest campaign in the main cities where protestors take to the streets at night holding torches and campaign to collect signatures for a petition.

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