- Dirty Business: Reading modernity in Colombo’s fish markets
- Financing Conservation: Six Mechanisms Sri Lanka Should Know About
- Understanding Power Asymmetries in Platform-based Gig Work
- A New Project on Innovative Financing for Sustainable Marine Conservation in Sri Lanka
- Borrowing To Eat: The Impact of Sri Lanka’s Economic Crisis on Colombo’s Working Class Poor
September 20, 2023
Dirty Business: Reading modernity in Colombo’s fish markets
Why are fish markets consistently decried as filthy, and what does that say about urban space and our changing ideas of what is acceptable in our cities? While adding fish markets to the list of national failings may be the simplest course of action, a closer examination of how these markets are perceived by urban planners and administrators, offers us insight into dominant ideologies of planning, municipal governance and public health that continue to influence our cities today.
August 18, 2022
Debt or Disconnection: Prioritising Energy Justice in Economic Recovery
In Part One of this article, we considered the proposed electricity tariff revision from the perspective of the urban poor in Colombo, arguing that the revisions failed to account for ground realities faced by domestic consumers, both in terms of understanding the financial pressures of the economic crisis as well as how electricity usage has changed in response. In light of the approved tariff increase that averages at 75% in all categories, we take a closer look at low-consumer tariffs, and offer recommendations that uphold principles of energy justice.
August 7, 2022
Debt or Disconnection: CEB’s Tariff Hikes and the Urban Poor
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) in July sought an increase in tariffs from the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), proposing a regressive scheme of tariffs that will see the lowest consumers burdened with the highest increases in rates. The rationale for this revision is that the CEB (excluding LECO costs) requires an 82.4% increase in revenue to meet their forecasted costs for 2022. The proposed raise is likely to increase energy poverty among a population that is already burdened by inflation with a Consumer Price Index (CPI) that is nearly at 60%. Domestic consumers who use fewer than 30 units of electricity per month will have their bills increase by 835% to Rs. 507.65 from the current Rs. 54.27. Overall, it has been identified that 50% of domestic electricity consumers in Sri Lanka – 3.14 million households who use fewer than 60 units a month – will face the greatest increase in electricity bills due to the proposed increase in tariffs. Women who already perform the majority of housework will bear the brunt of the planned price increase. The gendered impacts of energy poverty will constrain a generation of women and girls, stripping them of time and inhibiting their access to education and the workforce. In a deteriorating economy that places a massive and disproportionate burden on the urban poor, these tariff hikes represent an additional cost that will increase energy poverty and even threaten access to the grid. The tariff hikes are insensitive to the changing consumption patterns of electricity among residents in urban areas, as well as to the significant debt that many households have already fallen into. Beyond the tariff hikes, any policy recommendations regarding support to families during this crisis period must be mindful of these diverse consumption patterns.