- Move to restructure Commission, not scrap it
- Issue likely to be taken up at Cabinet meeting this week
No decision with regard to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has been made yet and most likely the Commission will be restructured as stated by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament, said Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma on Friday when asked about the future of the Commission.
He said a final decision has not been made on the Commission up to now and added that the matter will most likely be taken up at the next Cabinet meeting this week. “There was a discussion on this at the last Monday’s Cabinet meeting,” the Minister said, adding he personally believed there should be a regulatory body for public utilities.
The PUCSL is the economic, technical and safety regulator of the electricity industry in Sri Lanka and the designated regulator for petroleum and water services industries. The Commission also has been assigned as the shadow regulator for the lubricant market in Sri Lanka.
The Commission was set up by The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Act No. 35 of 2002.
The Opposition claims the Commission mandated to regulate prices of public utilities will be abolished which would lead to an ad hoc increase in the price of electricity.
“It is usual for the Opposition to jump the gun and create panic among the people without knowing the exact situation. Peoples’ welfare will always be given top priority,” Minister Alahapperuma said. Media reports stated that plans are afoot to scrap the Commission and transfer its responsibilities to the Consumer Affairs Authority.
An energy sector expert said if the Commission is dismantled the price of a unit of electricity would rise to around Rs. 50 with nobody to prevent it. According to media reports all members of the Commission had stepped down with immediate effect.
Meanwhile co-Cabinet spokesman Udaya Gammanpila told the media last week that amendments would be made to the Commission after discussions and that scrapping the body was not on the agenda as yet.
He said the Commission should not be abolished.
There is only a discussion regarding the functions of the PUCSL and not about shutting it down.
Source : Sunday Observer