Electricity tariff relief: Who’s deceiving whom? President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his May-day speech announced there would not be a single cent increase in electricity charges for households consuming fewer than 60 units and there will be some relief for households consuming between 61 and 180 units. During his meeting with media chiefs and later at [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Letters to the Editor


Electricity tariff relief: Who’s deceiving whom?

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his May-day speech announced there would not be a single cent increase in electricity charges for households consuming fewer than 60 units and there will be some relief for households consuming between 61 and 180 units.

During his meeting with media chiefs and later at a public meeting before his May-Day speech, the President had justified the massive tariff increase. However, addressing the huge May Day rally, he explained that his decision to offer relief was based on his interactions with the people, who have been highly inconvenienced due to the substantial tariff increase.

He also promised to extend some relief to those who exceed the upper limit in their respective tariff blocks (i.e. 91-96, 121-126 units etc) due to a special event (party) and even offered up to 5 units free of charge for households with children sitting the Ordinary Level or Advanced Level examination. From all these announcements and pronouncements, it appears that the President has understood the severe burden on ordinary consumers due to this tariff increase and is genuinely interested in offering some relief.

I am an ordinary consumer and have four members in the family. I have replaced all incandescent bulbs in my house with high quality energy efficient CFL bulbs. We use only the essential electronic equipment, which includes an iron, a TV, a refrigerator, a washing machine, a rice cooker and a blender. I have strictly followed all energy saving tips published by the Sustainable Energy Authority.

With all these energy saving efforts, still we end up consuming around 160-180 units a month. I am comparing below my electricity bill for March, 2013 (units 174) under the tariff structure that prevailed before April, with what was announced in April 2013 and the latest revision based on relief offered by the President’s May-Day speech. (I have not included the three tariff structures in this article, as it is well known to all and published in various print and electronic media).

The comparison shows that ordinary consumers like me will not receive any reduction in their monthly electricity bill in terms of the May-Day relief announced by the President. It was publicised that households consuming between 61 and 180 units will receive a 25 per cent reduction in fuel surcharge. However, the latest tariff structure announced by the Public Utilities Commission maintains the fuel surcharge at 40 percent for households consuming above 90 units.

Thus, it is clear that ordinary consumers with a monthly usage of more than 90 units will not receive any reduction. I would like to ask the relevant authorities, who is deceiving whom? Are the CEB and the PUCSL trying to deceive us by denying the tariff reduction promised by the President or as many politicians do, is the President promising one thing, but directing the relevant authorities to continue the massive electricity tariff increase using another formula?

Chandra Vithanage Via email

Gratiaen Award: Penning thoughts on pen name “outcry”

Unfortunately, the writer of “What’s in a Pen-name”, Roberta Tudugala, has perhaps not been present at the Gratiaen literary awards ceremony. Her hyperbole of “huge outcry, infuriation and shock” was quite unwarranted.

When Suresh Mudanayake a.k.a Ashok Ferrey a.k.a Saroj Sinnatamby walked up to the podium, the audience reaction was one of amusement and mild surprise. There was no official comment from members of the Gratiaen Trust or the panel of eminent judges.
Then again, it may be because I am on the periphery of the writing clique, and live in Kandy, I had no idea that Ashok Ferrey [a pleasant enough person], evokes ‘intense admiration or bitter distaste.’

The writer implies that his use of a Tamil name, resulted in racial bias on the part of the judges. This borders on libel, as people of the calibre of Jayantha Dhanapala, Sumathy Sivamohan and Lynn Ockersz cannot be accused of a narrow minded blinkered racist vision.
Any writer is at liberty to write under a pen-name.

When submitting one’s work for the Gratiaen award, the title page bears the title of the book, and the author’s name. This may well be a pseudonym.

However, I think that it is only correct that in filling in the author’s name and address in the relevant form that he/she gives the real name. The Gratiaen Trust surely will have no objection to “Mr. X’ preferring to author a book as “Mr. Y’.

I wish Ashok Ferrey all success in his literary endeavours, and hope his creativity will not be wasted in inventing any more pseudonyms!

Premini Amerasinghe, Kandy

Shalika grounds: Spare  our ears

The people living around the Sri Lanka Transport Board-owned Shalika grounds at Park Road, Narahenpita are bombarded with unbearable sound pollution at weekends and during holidays.

Sports meets, cricket matches, get-togethers and other such events are held in this ground and from morning till evening the speakers would blare at the highest volume with scant regard for the residents, especially the old people, students preparing for exams and people with heart ailments.

The residents have no objection to the use of amplifiers, but all what we ask them is to keep the sound decibel within the allowed units for public functions without causing a public nuisance. The SLTB too could make it a condition while renting out the grounds.
Over to the National Transport Commission!

A disgruntled resident Narahenpita

Bliss of Vesak

Let’s worship this Vesak day
On this thrice blessed day
Rejoicing to our hearts content
By making our offerings
At the lotus feet of Buddha the Great

The whiteness of the full moon
Against the star-studded vastness
The milky ocean upturned
In the worship of our Great One
Could this be simply ignored?

The day you were born
The day you became enlightened
The day you ceased to be
Yes, it’s Vesak again
So let us all celebrate

Hear the music every where
Bells and drums and clarinets share
Let us chant the holy word
Sadu, sadu, sadu
That the deities do care

Nature in the best
In her flamboyant green vest
To celebrate the greatness
Wheedling us to join
In a jubilant worship of sacredness

Let’s rejoice in one voice
Setting aside all harmful vice
To avoid being deceived
In refraining from the vile
Embracing the teaching of our Sage

Let’s follow the Noble eightfold path
Being mindful of the middle path
Only way for self-awakening
The panacea for pain and suffering
In ending of samsara that’s circling

You taught us greatness
You gave us salvation
The way to right mindedness
To be devoid of evilness
Of greed, lust and hatred

Spare the lives of our animals dear
Stop stealing what was not delivered
To refrain from unlawful carnal misconduct
To shun all forms of deceitful lies
And be clear of drunkenness

So let us celebrate this blessed day
In alms, self-discipline and meditation
With the following let us be purified
Friendliness, compassion, appreciative joy, equanimity
In true search of Nirvana!

Savithri Jayasinghe Cooray, Centre of English Language and Training Thomastown

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