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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » How to think about Sri Lanka electricity tariffs

How to think about Sri Lanka electricity tariffs

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CSE.SAS

CSE.SAS
Global Moderator
Suddenly, electricity is on everyone’s minds. I watched vox pop segments on a TV show (people on the street speaking to a camera). They were very upset. One even said that all that is left is to commit suicide.

Perspective

So I thought it would good to gain some perspective. The Department of Census and Statistics conducts a large-sample representative survey called the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (http://www.statistics.gov.lk/page.asp?page=Income%20and%20Expenditure). According to the last one conducted in 2009-10, the average household expenditure per month was LKR 31,331. Of this, the average spend on electricity was LKR 532 (1.7%). Surprisingly, this was considerably lower than average household expenditures on transportation (LKR 2,317 or 7.4%), education (LKR 1,018 or 3.2%), and even communication (LKR 755 or 2.4%).

With regard to electricity there is an assumption that the households that use the least electricity (less than 30 kwh) are the poorest. According to another representative-sample survey conducted by researchers at the University of Colombo for the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the below 30 kwh group spent LKR 1,140 on education, LKR 1,000 on transportation, LKR 453 on communication and only LKR 120 on electricity. It is noteworthy that this “poor” segment of the population spent more on “free” education than on not-free transportation. The amounts spent on electricity among the entire population as well as the “poor” subset were among the lowest.

Why is a tariff increase needed?

“LKR 59 billion” is the short answer. This enormous amount, higher eventhan the subsidy of LKR 29.8 billion (LKR 29,800,000,000) spent on giving almost-free fertilizer for all crops in 2011, is represented by the inability of the CEB as well as the Petroleum Corporation to pay their bills on time. Money is owed to the Peoples’ Bank. The loss appears in multiple forms and is patched up using ad hoc methods. In the end, we all pay: through inflation and directly. CEB is broke and as a last resort, government pays with our money. Government decides; we pay.

Why is the CEB in such horrendous financial shape? According to our analysis, many factors contribute. Our consumption is increasing, with the country well on the way to connecting 100 percent of houses to the grid. We have a lot more appliances in our homes, as should be the case. In 2009-10, according to the Household Survey, 60 percent of households in the Western Province had refrigerators, with the country average being 40 percent (four in ten households). Television ownership was even higher, with 80 percent of all households owning one.

The increasing consumption can only be supplied with very high-cost electricity. The last five percent of electricity used to meet peak demand is responsible for almost 50 percent of the costs. The alternative is load-shedding (blackouts) at peak times. While this is commonplace in neighboring India, we do not like blackouts. Therefore, CEB cannot pay its bills and has to be bailed out by the government with our money repeatedly.

We have ended up in this mess because our political leaders failed to build the necessary low-cost generating capacity over the last two decades or more. The Norochchalai Plant was delayed 15 years, at least. From the last five yearswe have been talking about commissioning a 500 MW coal-powered generating station in Sampur by 2016. It has been all talk; no action. Not one sod has been turned.

Coal is increasing in price and natural gas is coming down. Where the plans to build right-sized, right-fuel plants that are both economical and fit our energy use profile? What is the status of planning for the power cable connecting us to the South Indian grid so that we can make better use of the right-sized plants?

When there are no low-cost electricity sources left, there are only two ways peak demand can be met: blackouts or expensive diesel-based electricity. So we use extremely costly imported diesel to give us 24/7 power.

Thankfully, Norochcholai Stage 1 was built. Otherwise, we would be in a much bigger hole today. Hopefully, Norochcholai Stage 2 will be connected to the grid next year. With that, we should be able to dispense with the most expensive generators for a few years until the next crisis hits.

Basis for a decision

This is the context within which the CEB has proposed a tariff revision and the PUCSL has to make a decision. No government can afford to pump LKR 59 billion into a bottomless pit. The ad hoc way in which pricing has been decided all these years has yielded a tariff structure that is wildly out of line with costs. Unless they are aligned and the government adopts a rational approach to supplying the electricity this middle-income country needs, no progress can be made.

The National Energy Policy of Sri Lanka gazetted on 10 June 2008 lays out the principles that must guide the PUCSL in its decision:

3.5 Adopting an Appropriate Pricing Policy

* The PUCSL will be empowered to regulate the energy sector including electricity and petroleum sub-sectors, to ensure effective implementation of the pricing policy.

* Appropriate pricing strategies will be formulated and implemented by PUCSL, which will prepare and regularly update plans to achieve a cost-reflective pricing policy for all commercial energy products (electricity, petroleum products, LPG) and implement them. These prices will include elements such as a reasonable return on equity, internal cash generation for capital investment and debt service.

* Necessary steps will be taken by PUCSL to ensure that the optimal energy supply expansion plans are implemented in time so that the cost reflective prices will be based on these optimal plans.

* A mechanism will be established by PUCSL to identify target groups of consumers that deserve special consideration owing to social needs or commercial realities.

In sum, prices must be cost-reflective. The question of subsidies must be separated from tariff design. Instead of throwing away LKR 59 billion on ad hoc bailouts and irrational subsidies, the government should focus subsidies on the families with the greatest difficulty in making ends meet, for example, by giving energy vouchers to Samurdhi households. It will take some time to set up such a system, while the new tariff must come into effect in April. This year’s tariff determination must include conditions for CEB to cooperate with the PUCSL to develop a better way to target and deliver subsidies as required by the National Energy Policy.

But interim relief is needed to cushion the impact for those who cannot easily afford the increase. The only quickly implementable solution is to give a credit, say of LKR 100, on the electricity bills of all households consuming less than 90 units a month (this should actually be pegged to average daily consumption for the billing period) may be implemented. A household consuming 30 kwh will pay an extra LKR 75 a month if the tariff proposal is implemented as proposed; a household consuming 60 kwh will pay LKR 174.15 more and a household consuming 90 kwh will pay LKR 432.60. The LKR 100 credit for this entire group will cost in the range of LKR 4.3 billion, which is way less than what the government pays to keep the government airlines afloat.

How do we get out of the hole?

Tariff design must contribute to bring down peak demand by around five percent. This is a policy objective pursued in many countries, especially in light of climate-change concerns. In our case, it is a necessity because that last five percent is busting the budgets of the government, the CEB, the CPC and of each household in the country.

If something is really important, one does not take half-hearted measures. One uses all the tools at one’s disposal. The most powerful tool is the price signal. The new tariff design that increases the unit price of electricity depending on level of consumption (e.g., a household with consumption below 90 units a month willpay LKR 8.50 per unit for all units, while a household with a consumption of 91 units will pay LKR 15 per unit, again for all units consumed), creates powerful incentives to reduce consumption. This must be supplemented by targeted messages reminding people to shift consumption from peak hours.

Demand side management can succeed if the price signals built into the new tariff structure are supplemented by incentives to high users. This will require additional investment in smartmeters, ICT based feedback mechanisms are so on.Ideally, investment in smart meters for a specified number of high-volume users could be condition of the tariff approval.

The window of opportunity created by a tariff design that approaches cost-reflectivity and the likely cutover of Norochcholai Stage 2 next year must be used to implement a serious demand side management program that will allow all our people to use more energy as befits citizens of a middle-income country, but more intelligently than now.Until the core problem of unaffordable electricity can be solved, all other reforms become meaningless. The 2013 tariff approval is the place to start.

http://www.lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=1057314335

Rapaport

Rapaport
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Government needs to understand the reality and stop employing people into the govt companies. This makes them lazy, arrogant, opportunistic and anti private!

Privatise CEB and CPC with multiple players
Privatise the airlines and Mihin shut down.
Others such as Peoples Bank, NSB, SLIC, Sri lankan Catering, Bank of ceylon can be listed like PLC.
This will help CSE, people and economy immensely
We will have a far stable currency, inflation and interest rates.

Will solve alot of problems and money for the economy which can be then diverted to Transport, health and education sectors!

One good example is telecom sector privatisation with price wars bringing prices to rock bottom.
Quality and efficiency improved as well

High time to forget votes and think about the country and its people!

Cheers!

D.G.Dayaratne


Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
I fully agree with Rapaport

But privatization not mean giving Public assets to friends and relations at SUMMA

According to past history from 2005 we cant expect justifiable privatization from this govt or from UNP 1977 to 1994.



Last edited by D.G.Dayaratne on Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:41 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : correction)

Whitebull


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Hand over the management to competent people but should not privatize state own institutions.

Slstock

Slstock
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
We need to think deeper here if we really want to see the country develop.



@Whitebull wrote:Hand over the management to competent people but should not privatize state own institutions.
Whitebull

So mean even CPC and CEB should be always govn owned and managed even if continues to be a public burden?



Changing management has been done several times. But there was no real effect as the top management even if they wanted to cannot do big changes . As you know there are lot of external factors ( unions, corruption) etc. Right now it is very clear how CPC and CEB has become a public burden . Mainly to the lower and middle class people. Looking at thinking behind the tariff structure 90 units seems to have been allocated as "upper class house" looking at the jump. On a practical side to live below 90 units mean you have to have small house and very few electrical appliances . ( Now if you want to use an AC units and water geysers units will jump more than 300. Isn;t this a practical way to figure out who want to lead luxury life) So going with the thinking behind this structure I see if lower middle class want to come to upper middle class it will be a big challege.

Thinking also need to change if we need to develop a country.

Rappaport :

I agree with you on how Telecom sector was developed. Just think if we had SL telecom and celltell only today. What would be the plight? I remember the time Cell phone minute was Rs 15. To get a land phone it was nearly impossible and have to wait for years. How did this all change today to a better system?




I also say if state cannot do the job, it is okay to privatize so someone can do it better ( as long as they are not national treasures ) . CEB and CPC is not a national treasure but a burden right now. If there are more competing companies naturally product quality and prices will go down.

If we take out politics can someone tell me how SUGA made such a massive profit after a private company took over. again leaving politics aside was Sevanagala a loss making company ? Is it doing better now? Why are state sugar companies not been productive even close to these ?


Sometimes we need to step out of our way of traditional thinking to see
and make changes that genuinely benefit the country and the people
better.

If someone want to comment, please read what I said deeply at least 2 times before commenting. Leave out emotions, politics and come out with a practical solution and a argument how gov can manage these better if you would like to reply.


"You have to break an egg to make an omlette". If we protect the egg all the time saying it is precious these will be limited or no new creations.

SLstock

Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
I agree with all of your valuable comments.
To overcome this type of issues we as a public need to do more work.
Electing a competent people to rule the country. But we again and again failing by selecting thugs and mafia orianted members to our parliament.
(Some of us won't agree publically this point)
The public funds were/are/will utilised to satisfy their own agendas.
Look at the Jumbo cabinet, Mihin Air, Exhibitions, now Airports and sea ports etc etc.
Those who critisise these will branded as a traitor or LTTE supporter by the govt supporters. (It is a mania in Sri Lanka)

Whitebull


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
I did not ask just to change management but to hand it over to competent people.
If private sector can make the profit why the hell government can not ? There is no point of cutting nose because of ugly face.
I do not tell government should keep monopoly. But they should keep what they own with proper management. Otherwise there will be private sector monopoly. Anyone can imagine what would happen in a critical situation if private sector has monopoly.
I do not have anything to say about Redbulls comment as most of the forum members know his real intention. Other members can also get proper idea by reading threads on UNHRC.

Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
@Whitebull wrote:I did not ask just to change management but to hand it over to competent people.
If private sector can make the profit why the hell government can not ? There is no point of cutting nose because of ugly face.
I do not tell government should keep monopoly. But they should keep what they own with proper management. Otherwise there will be private sector monopoly. Anyone can imagine what would happen in a critical situation if private sector has monopoly.
I do not have anything to say about Redbulls comment as most of the forum members know his real intention. Other members can also get proper idea by reading threads on UNHRC.

Most of them know about your intention also.
I decide to stop commenting on your comments due to only one reason that is " poking a stick at a barking stray dog is not worth". That's all mate.

Slstock

Slstock
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
@Whitebull wrote:

If private sector can make the profit why the hell government can not ?


If you read my post again you might get a hint why.


@Whitebull wrote:

I do not tell government should keep monopoly. But they should keep what
they own with proper management. Otherwise there will be private sector
monopoly. Anyone can imagine what would happen in a critical situation
if private sector has monopoly.

Simple. Have many competing private sector companies . There won;t be a Monopoly to start with. Ex : Telecom



Last edited by slstock on Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

K.Haputantri

K.Haputantri
Co-Admin
මහජන මුදල් කුට්ටි පිටින් ගිලින එවුන් තමයි මේවට පත් කරල තියෙන්නෙ. අහිංසක මහජතතාව මේ ඔක්කොමට ගෙවන්න ඕනෙ.

මේක තේරැම් ගන්න නොරොච්චෝලෙ ගැහිල්ල පමනක් ප්‍රමාණවත්. මෑතකදි මං දැක්ක පුවත්පත් වාර්තාවක් අනුව මේ ප්‍රොජෙක්ට් එකේ ඇස්තමේන්තුව ඩොලර් මිලියන 800 යි. නමුත් කොම්ස් ගැහිලි නිසා ඒක ඩොලර් 1200 ක් උනාලු. පස්සෙ මේ ණය ගෙවාගන්න බැරි නිසා ඒ ගානට චීනයට ඒක විකුණන්න හදන කොට ගෙවන්න කැමති වෙලා තියෙන්නෙ මුල් ඇස්තමේන්තු මුදල පමනලු. හේතුව ඉතුරැ ගාන ගැහිලි බව චීන්නු දන්න නිසාලු.

මුන්ට යන්න වෙනම අපායක් හදන්න සිදු උනොත් යම රජ්ජුරැවොත් බංකොලොත් වෙන්න ඉඩ තියෙනව.

Slstock

Slstock
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
Did you see the post where someone calculted the estimated cost of Rs 85000+ per meter to build a road? Hope the road is atleast 30 m wide. If so that would be about Rs 3000 a sq meter!




@K.Haputantri wrote:මහජන මුදල් කුට්ටි පිටින් ගිලින එවුන් තමයි මේවට පත් කරල තියෙන්නෙ. අහිංසක මහජතතාව මේ ඔක්කොමට ගෙවන්න ඕනෙ.

මේක තේරැම් ගන්න නොරොච්චෝලෙ ගැහිල්ල පමනක් ප්‍රමාණවත්. මෑතකදි මං දැක්ක පුවත්පත් වාර්තාවක් අනුව මේ ප්‍රොජෙක්ට් එකේ ඇස්තමේන්තුව ඩොලර් මිලියන 800 යි. නමුත් කොම්ස් ගැහිලි නිසා ඒක ඩොලර් 1200 ක් උනාලු. පස්සෙ මේ ණය ගෙවාගන්න බැරි නිසා ඒ ගානට චීනයට ඒක විකුණන්න හදන කොට ගෙවන්න කැමති වෙලා තියෙන්නෙ මුල් ඇස්තමේන්තු මුදල පමනලු. හේතුව ඉතුරැ ගාන ගැහිලි බව චීන්නු දන්න නිසාලු.

මුන්ට යන්න වෙනම අපායක් හදන්න සිදු උනොත් යම රජ්ජුරැවොත් බංකොලොත් වෙන්න ඉඩ තියෙනව.

Whitebull


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
@Redbulls wrote:
@Whitebull wrote:I did not ask just to change management but to hand it over to competent people.
If private sector can make the profit why the hell government can not ? There is no point of cutting nose because of ugly face.
I do not tell government should keep monopoly. But they should keep what they own with proper management. Otherwise there will be private sector monopoly. Anyone can imagine what would happen in a critical situation if private sector has monopoly.
I do not have anything to say about Redbulls comment as most of the forum members know his real intention. Other members can also get proper idea by reading threads on UNHRC.

Most of them know about your intention also.
I decide to stop commenting on your comments due to only one reason that is " poking a stick at a barking stray dog is not worth". That's all mate.
Sorry for delay mate as I can not be online either HIDDEN or not hidden in equity forum like a jobless person during my waking hours. I would like to mention my intention to rest of them,
My intention is to protect our country and our culture as an extention to it I would try to protect those who try to protect this country. For the time being this government is the best option we have. So I protect this government....(that is not because I am paid or I am a government agent....)
Your decision of stopping to my comment is on the fact that "Your Mate barking stray dog has more points and truth than you have."

Whitebull


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
@slstock wrote:
@Whitebull wrote:

If private sector can make the profit why the hell government can not ?


If you read my post again you might get a hint why.
I think that hint itself carries the more suitable answer rather than selling it.


@slstock wrote:
@Whitebull wrote:

I do not tell government should keep monopoly. But they should keep what
they own with proper management. Otherwise there will be private sector
monopoly. Anyone can imagine what would happen in a critical situation
if private sector has monopoly.

Simple. Have many competing private sector companies . There won;t be a Monopoly to start with. Ex : Telecom
Here I am talking about the entire private sector as monopoly. Main concern of private sector is more and more profit. So what if they get united and come to a decision to stop competition in the hope of making more profit. This is happening in so called developed countries. Their economy is mainly on hands of private sector. So their governments have to dance according to their tune even though they do not reveal it.

Slstock

Slstock
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
Can you tell me an example of such incident in the developed countries you have visited or learnt about?

No developed country I seen or learnt about lets private companies dance to their own tune. There are commissions, regulations,acts, law enforcement etc. In the least interest groups will start making massive racket and there will be suing.


@Whitebull wrote:

Here I am talking about the entire private sector as monopoly. Main concern of private sector is more and more profit. So what if they get united and come to a decision to stop competition in the hope of making more profit. This is happening in so called developed countries. Their economy is mainly on hands of private sector. So their governments have to dance according to their tune even though they do not reveal it.

Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
Western countries as slstock mentioned got the regulatory bodies with immensed power, they are not politicised like in third world countries.

Here the problem is masked patriotics want the benefit from the country's wealth only for them and their immediate families, friends and their blind followers.
No one can explain the reality to those like "frog in a well".

Whitebull


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
@slstock wrote:Can you tell me an example of such incident in the developed countries you have visited or learnt about?

No developed country I seen or learnt about lets private companies dance to their own tune. There are commissions, regulations,acts, law enforcement etc. In the least interest groups will start making massive racket and there will be suing.


@Whitebull wrote:

Here I am talking about the entire private sector as monopoly. Main concern of private sector is more and more profit. So what if they get united and come to a decision to stop competition in the hope of making more profit. This is happening in so called developed countries. Their economy is mainly on hands of private sector. So their governments have to dance according to their tune even though they do not reveal it.
Do you really think that they may reveal those things ? They have commissions, regulations bla..bla...to maintain their policies. But who are the main characters behind their policy making ?

Slstock

Slstock
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
No point arguing with you over this.


@Whitebull wrote:
@slstock wrote:Can you tell me an example of such incident in the developed countries you have visited or learnt about?

No developed country I seen or learnt about lets private companies dance to their own tune. There are commissions, regulations,acts, law enforcement etc. In the least interest groups will start making massive racket and there will be suing.


@Whitebull wrote:

Here I am talking about the entire private sector as monopoly. Main concern of private sector is more and more profit. So what if they get united and come to a decision to stop competition in the hope of making more profit. This is happening in so called developed countries. Their economy is mainly on hands of private sector. So their governments have to dance according to their tune even though they do not reveal it.
Do you really think that they may reveal those things ? They have commissions, regulations bla..bla...to maintain their policies. But who are the main characters behind their policy making ?

Whitebull


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
@slstock wrote:No point arguing with you over this.


@Whitebull wrote:
@slstock wrote:Can you tell me an example of such incident in the developed countries you have visited or learnt about?

No developed country I seen or learnt about lets private companies dance to their own tune. There are commissions, regulations,acts, law enforcement etc. In the least interest groups will start making massive racket and there will be suing.


@Whitebull wrote:

Here I am talking about the entire private sector as monopoly. Main concern of private sector is more and more profit. So what if they get united and come to a decision to stop competition in the hope of making more profit. This is happening in so called developed countries. Their economy is mainly on hands of private sector. So their governments have to dance according to their tune even though they do not reveal it.
Do you really think that they may reveal those things ? They have commissions, regulations bla..bla...to maintain their policies. But who are the main characters behind their policy making ?
I know you dream about fair and better world....Well it is good but remember everything is not as it looks. If you look in to deep without being prejudiced you may see it.

Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
@slstock wrote:No point arguing with you over this.


@Whitebull wrote:
@slstock wrote:Can you tell me an example of such incident in the developed countries you have visited or learnt about?

No developed country I seen or learnt about lets private companies dance to their own tune. There are commissions, regulations,acts, law enforcement etc. In the least interest groups will start making massive racket and there will be suing.


@Whitebull wrote:

Here I am talking about the entire private sector as monopoly. Main concern of private sector is more and more profit. So what if they get united and come to a decision to stop competition in the hope of making more profit. This is happening in so called developed countries. Their economy is mainly on hands of private sector. So their governments have to dance according to their tune even though they do not reveal it.
Do you really think that they may reveal those things ? They have commissions, regulations bla..bla...to maintain their policies. But who are the main characters behind their policy making ?

Well said Sir.

No


Senior Equity Analytic
Senior Equity Analytic
Whitebull, chinwi
Anduwata p.... dena ugath modayo dennek. They have direct relations or they are benefiting from the present government.They are blinded and no point arguing with them.Let the show continue.Two days more for another drama.
Fishing harbour,teledrama village without dramas and cricket ground where you cant identify a player even.keep going.

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