PUCSL to get nod for water | Sunday Observer

PUCSL to get nod for water

11 April, 2021

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator is at last seeing the light of the day to regulate the petroleum and water sectors of which the Commission has been a designated regulator, said a top official of the Commission.

“The Commission has received approval to regulate petroleum and now we are awaiting the green light for water,” the official said on the sidelines of a ceremony to launch the program for interest payments for security deposits of electricity consumers under the Sri Lanka Electricity Act. “Entrusting the regulatory role for water and petroleum on the PUCSL is good news to consumers of public utilities whose rights will be ensured by the Commission,” PUCSL Chairman JanakaRatnayake said. The PUCSL has been awaiting the mandate to regulate the petroleum and water sectors for a long time as approvals had been on the back burner of subsequent governments. 

On deposit interest payment, Ratnayake said Lanka Electricity (Pvt) Ltd, a distribution licensee will start paying interest to its customers from April 7. LECO alone will pay Rs. 42 million annually to customers as a benefit through the interest payment benefit on customer deposits.

The Commission recently decided that the interest rate for this year would be 8.68 per cent. Licensed companies that provide electricity services  have to calculate the interest benefit based on that interest and pay it to their customers. 

“We hope that in the future other licensees will implement this interest payment program. When other electricity distribution licensees also implement this interest benefit scheme in the future, around Rs. 1,200 million will flow into the hands of electricity consumers annually,” Ratnayake said, adding that the implementation of the decision to pay interest benefits was delayed due to various issues such as determining the interest to be paid and resolving issues. 

PUCSL issued guidelines in early 2017 to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Lanka Electricity Company private limited (LECO) to pay an interest on security deposit of electricity consumers which CEB and LECO receive when providing an electricity connection.

Electricity consumers are entitled to receive a payment for the security deposits under the Section 28 of Electricity Act No.20 of 2009.

“The Commission has also been appointed as the regulatory body for the lubricant market in Sri Lanka and we provide advice and assistance to the Ministry of Energy for the promotion of the lubricant market.

“The Commission has been entrusted with the regulation of electric vehicle charging stations. We also have plans to expand the network of electric vehicle charging stations to protect the rights of electric vehicle owners.

“This year, we are also implementing a program to enhance the quality of professionals in the electricity sector and ensure the maintenance of high-security electricity service.

“At present, nearly 45,000 people are working as electricians in the country. Only by standardising the work of these people, can the quality of home electrical systems in our country be guaranteed.

“We have also paved the way for these electricians to be recognised nationally and internationally. The National Electrician Licensing Scheme prepared by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka will be introduced this year.

“To obtain this license, we have implemented an expeditious process of awarding at least the third level of National Vocational Qualification or NVQ 3 Certificate,” the PUCSL chief said.

Under this expeditious program, 2,500 electricians will be issued NVQ 3 qualification and professional licenses by next July. The awarding of the licence and NVQ 3 certificates to the first group of professional electricians is due to take place in June.

Over the next few years, the Commission hopes to implement programs for the advancement of all sectors under the purview of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka. Licensing licensees who provide utility services under our regulation are also required to improve in their respective fields.

The Commission was  set up  in 2002 to regulate the multi-faceted industries of the country. The regulatory powers of the electricity industry were vested in the Sri Lanka Electricity Act passed by Parliament in 2009. Since then, the Commission has initiated the economic, technological and security regulation of the power industry.