In a recent analysis comparing electricity charges across South Asian countries, Sri Lanka emerges with the highest household electricity costs, prompting concerns among the public regarding the burden on consumers.

The analysis, conducted for December 2023 by the Verité Research, sheds light on the stark disparities in electricity charges between Sri Lanka and its regional counterparts.

The analysis, which examined tariff revisions and cost structures in February, July, and October 2023, highlights two significant findings that underscore the gravity of the situation:

Highest Household Electricity Cost: Sri Lanka stands out with the highest household electricity costs among South Asian countries. Comparisons against the highest cost areas of supply in other countries revealed that Sri Lanka consistently maintains the top position in terms of electricity charges.

Disproportionate Burden on Sri Lankan Households: Sri Lankan households are bearing a disproportionate burden, paying approximately 2.5 to 3 times more for electricity compared to their counterparts in other South Asian nations. The analysis, based on households consuming between 100 to 300 units of electricity per month on single-phase lines, excludes any government taxation on electricity.

The analysis reveals stark figures. For instance, 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 higher than the South Asian average of LKR 7,340.

Despite the planned tariff decrease slated for February 2024, which is expected to result in a marginal reduction of around 4% or less in electricity bills, it falls short of addressing the core issue. Sri Lanka continues to maintain its position of paying the highest prices for electricity in the region, with costs ranging from 2.5 to 3 times higher than those incurred by households in other South Asian countries.

The revisions in electricity charges throughout 2023, aimed at recovering the full cost of providing electricity, have sparked public concern and debate regarding the affordability and sustainability of the current electricity pricing structure in Sri Lanka. As households await the implementation of the new tariff structure, questions linger regarding the long-term strategies needed to ensure equitable and affordable access to electricity for all citizens.


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