In a recent examination comparing electricity tariffs across South Asian nations, Sri Lanka has emerged as the country with the most expensive household electricity rates, leading to growing apprehensions among the public about the financial strain on consumers.
Conducted by Verité Research for the month of December 2023, the analysis illuminates significant disparities in electricity costs between Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries. The assessment, focusing on tariff adjustments and cost frameworks in February, July, and October 2023, brings forth two critical findings that underscore the severity of the issue:
Highest Household Electricity Costs: Sri Lanka distinguishes itself with the highest household electricity expenses among South Asian countries. Comparative assessments with the priciest supply areas in other nations consistently position Sri Lanka at the forefront in terms of electricity charges.
Disproportionate Burden on Sri Lankan Households: Sri Lankan households are shouldering an imbalanced burden, paying approximately 2.5 to 3 times more for electricity compared to their counterparts in other South Asian nations. The analysis, focusing on households consuming between 100 to 300 units of electricity per month on single-phase lines and excluding government taxation, underscores this significant discrepancy.
South Asian Average:
The figures disclosed in the analysis are striking. For example, consuming 100 units in Sri Lanka costs LKR 5,280, while the South Asian average stands at LKR 2,078. Similarly, consuming 300 units in Sri Lanka amounts to LKR 21,860, significantly surpassing the South Asian average of LKR 7,340.
Despite the anticipated tariff reduction scheduled for February 2024, expected to yield a marginal decrease of around 4% or less in electricity bills, it falls short of addressing the fundamental issue. Sri Lanka persists in maintaining its position as the country with the highest electricity prices in the region, with costs ranging from 2.5 to 3 times higher than those incurred by households in other South Asian countries.
The tariff adjustments throughout 2023, designed to recover the full cost of providing electricity, have ignited public concern and debate concerning the affordability and sustainability of Sri Lanka’s current electricity pricing structure. More than 500,000 Ceylon Electricity Board customers have lost their electricity supply due to non-payment of bills as of October 2023.