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Consumer affairs

Effective power regulation needed or blackouts could be experienced again – Prof. Samarajiva

Forum to discuss the current situation of Sri Lanka’s energy sector

Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) in Sri Lanka Professor Rohan Samarajiva says that if necessary investments are not done in electricity regulations and if they are not conducted properly, blackouts will have to be faced.

He made this comment at a public forum organized by the Association of Scientific Technical Workers (ASTW) and Associations of Public Service Engineers and members of the Organization of Professional Association (OPA) of Sri Lanka at the OPA auditorium yesterday (07 August), to discuss the present situation of the Energy Sector.

The forum also focused on ensuring the independence of the regulators with the participation of professionals representing private and government sectors.

As part of the expert panel at the event, Professor Samarajiva also spoke of bad regulations in the industry noting that poor service and high prices are outcomes of these faults.

“If necessary investments are not done in electricity regulations and if they are not conducted properly, we face blackouts and other hindrances, there on we buy emergency power at high prices and the only possible thing they can do is to get all tax-payers to pay for it while the organization runs on a loss or you can increase prices where low level consumers pay low and high level consumers pay high.”

He also went on to note that Sri Lanka has only one industry regulator when compared to other countries that have regulators for each city or state.

Addressing the gathering, President’s Counsel Sarath Wijesinghe spoke of the recently proposed amendment on the Sri Lanka Electricity bill, saying, “It is not a smart move in Sri Lanka, especially with a gloomy track record on financial irregularities among others, are they even competent?”

Panel members also discussed the importance of the regulator, the impact of the regulators on protecting the consumers, the responsibilities of the regulator, the challenges for the regulator and policy changes required to ensure the independence of the regulators.