Private renewable energy providers request CEB to release at least 50% of dues

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Various renewable energy industries sector associations claim that there is a due of around eight months of payments from the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), which makes it very difficult for the industry to survive.

The total of around Rs 22 billion is outstanding from CEB to renewable energy industries.

Around 75% of project costs for private sector renewable energy projects are funded by banks, stated Small Hydro Developers Association President Thusitha Peiris.

“Banks have lent about Rs 60 billion to the renewable energy industry, and servicing these loans may come to a halt, if CEB keeps delaying payments to renewable energy industries. This can impact the banking system as well. We request the CEB to release atleast 50% of payment immediately for our business to operate,” Peiris said.

Last Thursday (28 April), members of various renewable energy associations met the bankers association to explain their situation and also request for some bridging facilities.

“In the last twenty five years, the private sector renewable energy providers have never defaulted on any payments to the banks.  Renewable energy sector borrowings span long term over 9-10 years and banks benefit over short term borrowings.

“On the other side, with raising interest rates, we are finding it hard to survive on bank borrowings too. We request the CEB to revise tariff rates based on current interest rates for new projects. For the existing projects, we are paid Rs 14.50 per unit for hydro power. It would be better if 20% of tariff for current projects are kept as variable rates based on operational maintenance costs,” he said. 

At a press conference held last Wednesday, members of Renewable Energy Industry Association noted that Adani group was offered a lucrative dollar-based tariff of USD Six cents for a kilowatt hour/unit. The members added, “However, the project hasn’t taken off yet, it is all in the papers only. When they get to know of the delays in payments by CEB, Adani may back off from the project.”

By Rajiesh Seethram