News

PUCSL opposes proposed Electricity Act changes

  • Chairman of power regulator writes to Ministerial committee

  • CEB workers claim plans to remove PUCSL’s pricing oversight 

By Pamodi Waravita 

 

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake has formally objected to certain proposed amendments to the Electricity Act, No. 20 of 2009, which the PUCSL claims will be detrimental to the stakeholders and the industry. 

Ratnayake has communicated his concerns in writing to the Ministerial committee appointed to review proposals to amend the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, No. 20 of 2009. 

“According to the said Act, there are certain things they should not do as it is unhealthy for the industry. The PUCSL is bound to protect consumers, and to promote efficiency and safety. Certain recommendations that have been made before the committee appointed to review changes to this Act will be detrimental to the stakeholders and the industry. That is why we vehemently object to certain revisions of the legal provisions of the Electricity Act,” Ratnayake told The Morning

Ratnayake said that the committee in question is currently reviewing observations and suggestions from the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the Lanka Electricity Company (LECO), the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority and other third parties. 

However, Ratnayake stressed that the PUCSL supports changes which benefit and protect the industry and make it easier for investors to engage in business with them. 

Ratnayake also highlighted the need for a strong regulator, similar to those in developed countries. 

“If you take the case of the recent fuel price hike, it was done arbitrarily. In the case of electricity prices, the regulator is there to ensure that scientific methods are used to calculate the price to be paid by the consumer. This must be protected,” emphasised Ratnayake. 

Speaking to The Morning, the CEB General Workers’ Union President Malaka Wickremasinghe said that they have received information about certain proposed changes to the Electricity Act, specifically to Section 30 concerning tariffs. 

“According to the information we have received, the change to the said provisions would shift the power of increasing electricity prices from PUCSL oversight to the subject Minister or the Cabinet of Ministers, and this is concerning,” he added. 

However, top officials at the Power Ministry told The Morning that the amendments would not affect the price for electricity paid by consumers and that the committee is still receiving proposals for consideration, with no final decisions taken as of yet.