Business Times

Ceramics sector urges Govt. to reconsider proposed electricity tariff

The Sri Lanka Ceramics Council (SLACC) this week expressed concern over the significant increase in electricity tariff proposed by the Public Utilities Commission for the period January 2011 to June 2011, and urged the government to reconsider the new tariffs.

“The proposed tariff will increase the cost of electricity to our member companies by amounts ranging from 20% to 42%. This also comes at a time when the industrial LPG price, which is based on the Saudi Aramco Contract Price, is at an all time high. LPG price have hit a peak and are now higher than the peak in July 2008 during the height of energy crisis,” the SLACC said in a press release.

The ceramic industry is highly energy intensive and energy costs generally constitute around 50 % of the total cost of production in most ceramic factories. The high cost of production at present in our country, has always been a disadvantage for Sri Lanka in comparison with its regional competitors, the Council added.

The Council is the apex body representing industry members in the field of ceramic tableware, floor & wall tiles, sanitary ware, ornamental ware, utility ware, roofing tiles and glass sector.

“As per the proposed revision in per time of day tariff, our member companies are unable to shift production to the off peak period due to a number of reasons, some of which being: the employment of a large number of female employees, the lack of transport facilities in the night, the nature of production activities, kilns running continuously for 24 hours a day 7 days a week and in some companies which have a 24 hour uniform production level there are no prospects for shifting production to the off-peak period,” it said.

The Council said the ceramics industry employs several thousand directly, and several thousands indirectly. The industry must be preserved, if not for anything else, but the employment it sustains. “We therefore urge the government to carefully consider the repercussions on the ceramic industry before any revision is effected,” the Council said.

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