Electricity Sector Reforms Bill to be enacted soon for CEB privatization
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Electricity sector reforms bill aimed at restructuring the Ceylon enabling the power and energy ministry to enact it with the parliament endorsement, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera disclosed.
Minister Wijesekera informed yesterday that the proposed Electricity Sector Reforms Bill for the observations was submitted for the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to open up the electricity industry for new entrants to offer competitive prices.
“The proposed reforms will unbundle the services of CEB, improve efficiency, transparency, competition and allow private sector participation in the electricity industry,” he announced via ‘X’ yesterday.
Wijesekera said the Bill was prepared over the past 10 months with the assistance of energy and legal experts from development agencies and industry stakeholders.
Following the incorporation of the Attorney General Department’s recommended revisions by the Legal Draftsman, the Minister stated that the Bill received the AG’s approval last week.
He noted that once the Cabinet of Ministers approves the Bill, it will be gazetted and tabled in the Parliament for approval.
The Sri Lankan Government intends to restructure the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) soon instead of running all the related entities under one institution and will unbundle all related institutions separately, he disclosed.
“Under the CEB restructuring process, the management structure of the CEB will be undergoing reforms and this would also enable renewable energy generation to be promoted in the country with the support of government and private and public partnerships,” he said.
Currently loss-making Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is to undergo a systematic restructuring process by unbundling it into eight separate corporate entities for power generation, transmission, and distribution, a recent CEB directors board paper on administration specified.
The board paper clearly indicated that it plans to reduce massive losses of the CEB by transforming it into efficient profit making institution by setting up these entities under eight new general managers.
These entities will undertake functions of the CEB relating to hydro electricity, thermal electricity, coal power and non renewable power generation, distribution, and other activities of CEB as well as Lanka Electricity Company (LECO).
The CEB trade unions were protesting against the restructuring process that is about to begin and the CEB Engineers’ Union is divided over the issue.
This state owned enterprise with its large staff of 23,000 with over 1,400 professionals are planning to continue their agitation against the government’s initiatives of entering into power deals including the controversial Yugadanavi LNG power project and attempts to privatise the institution under the cover of restructuring, he added.
The unbundling will also provide an opportunity for the government to get rid of the majority of staff giving them a golden hand shake, the trade union leader alleged.