PUCSL to remain as regulator: Ratnayake

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 01:26 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • New Chairman rules out scrapping commission 
  • Says any prior issues have now been resolved  
  • PUCSL to implement 111 power, water and petroleum industries projects this year 
  • Wants power prices kept unchanged to limit COVID-19 impact

PUCSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayake holding the Annual Activity plan of the regulator after assuming duties yesterday – Pic by Ruwan Walpola

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka(PUCSL) will remain intact and work to expedite over a 100 projects, promote renewable energy, as well as attempt to keep existing electricity prices, Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said yesterday. 

Assuming duties at the Commission, Ratnayake ruled out the abolishment of the power and water sector regulator, insisting that such issues had now been resolved. According to him, focus would now be on working to expedite numerous projects, especially renewables in accordance with Government policy to reach 70% of total generation.  

“As far as I am concerned, we have to work in accordance with our Act and this is what we will do. We will coordinate with all stakeholders in the different segments the PUCSL is responsible for and ensure that our duties are performed efficiently,” he said. 

Ratnayake also said that he hoped power prices would remain unchanged as COVID-19 had placed a significant burden on the public.   

Along with the assumptions of duties, the PUCSL also released its Annual Activity Plan 2021. A total of 111 projects based on service quality and consumer rights protection in the power industry, water service industry and petroleum industry are to be implemented this year.

Projects related to the electricity industry have been formulated under four main objectives such as improving productivity and convenience for electricity consumers, supplying electricity at affordable prices to the consumer and maintaining a sustainable financial position for licensees, improving the safety of every living being and properties of the general public, licensees and operators, and improving environmental conditions for humans, animals and plants. Four special projects will be implemented this year to expedite the resolution of electricity consumer complaints and disputes.

Under this, a joint program will be initiated with the Divisional Secretaries to solve the problems faced by the electricity consumers during the installation and replacement of electricity poles and cables. 

In addition to that, steps will be taken to solve the problems that have arisen in obtaining electricity for houses located in block out lands from real estate companies. Also, a special project will be launched to maintain the efficiency of the street lighting system in the country by introducing a standard for the installation, operation and maintenance of street lighting systems. 

In order to achieve the goal of electrical safety, the national framework for licensing electricians’ program is being implemented in collaboration with other relevant agencies. Around 45,000 electricians have been identified in the country and a project will be launched to provide them with the National Vocational Qualification or ‘NVQ-three’, the basic qualification required to obtain a permanent electricity license, quickly and free-of-charge. The project is being implemented under a special Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission and the National Vocational Training Authority.

The PUCSL, as the shadow regulator of the lubricant market, assists the Ministry of Energy in regulating the lubricant market. The projects launched last year to control the sale of substandard lubricants and the sale of illegal lubricants will be further strengthened and implemented. A project is also underway to dispose of used lubricants in an environmentally-friendly manner. Also, a system will be introduced to protect the rights of petroleum consumers and to resolve their grievances.

The PUCSL, as the designated body for the regulation of the water service industry in the country, assists the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage Board in regulating the water services industry. 

The Commission assists the Ministry of Water Supply to introduce a methodology for resolving water consumer complaints and disputes through a declaration of water consumer rights. Also, the second phase of a series of public consultations at the local level to identify the issues of water consumer will be launched this year. PUCSL will take steps to expedite and successfully implement all projects scheduled for the year 2021.