Sri Lanka man dies of heart attack after shocking electric bill

COLOMBO (AFP) - A Sri Lankan man suffered a fatal heart attack after being presented with a shocking electricity bill, a media report said Saturday.

The 61-year-old victim had protested at the Ceylon Electricity Board in Colombo Friday that his bill had suddenly spiked, the Ceylon Today newspaper said.

It said the man was told that the bill was due to a hefty tariff increase from last month and suffered a heart attack on the news, collapsing at the electricity board headquarters.

The newspaper did not give the victim's bill amount, but said it was in line with the new 50 per cent tariff increase.

The man identified as S. P. Samaradasa collapsed on a chair, the newspaper said in a front-page report headlined: "Electricity tariff claims first victim." "The cause of death was identified as a heart attack," the paper added.

He was dead on arrival at hospital.

Sri Lanka is one of the most expensive countries in Asia for electricity with a kilowatt hour costing up to 47 rupees (S$0.45).

About two thirds of Sri Lanka's electricity is generated using coal or oil, while the balance comes from hydropower stations which cannot be used during droughts.

The state electricity utility has said it would incur a loss of US$750 million (S$ 950 million) in 2013, but the tariff hike from May will bring the projected loss down to US$225 million.