Water Board, CPC to be regulated

oilThe National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) are to be regulated under the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL).

The National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry Progress Report for 2016 tabled in Parliament last week said PUCSL is to be broadened and strengthened to include NWS&DB and CPC to enable more cost effective pricing for utilities.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, PUCSL Director General Damitha Kumarasinghe said the regulation is basically on the price and cost determination and technical regulation which includes quality of the product and quality of the services.

“It will be same as the electricity sector regulation that we already do. We can also look into the public grievances on the supply of those services” he said. He said the Commission, as of its Act, is to regulate water services, petroleum and electricity sector.

“However, the relevant Acts of those institutions should give us the provision to regulate them. So far only the Electricity Act has given that provision to us and we have been regulating the sector since 2009. Sector specific Acts are needed to petroleum and water services to empower the Commission to regulate those two industries,” he said.

Once legal amendments are passed in Parliament, the tariff revisions will also come under the PUCSL purview.

“What we do in the electricity sector at present is that we ask them to file their revenue every six months and how much tariff increase they want to make the industry profitable. Then our team analyzes it to check whether they really need a tariff hike. We will also propose other possible measures to cut down the operational costs and increase the efficiency in order to avoid passing the burden to the consumers. We also ask for the government policy in that regard and finally take a decision whether to allow a tariff hike or not,” he said.

Kumarasinghe said the CPC would come under the PUCSL regulation first as legal amendments have already been finalised. The Petroleum Products (special provision) Amendment Bill has been finalised by the Legal Draftsman’s Department and approved by the Attorney General. Simultaneously, the CPC Act would also be amended for the same purpose. Ceylon Petroleum (Amendment) Bill has been submitted for the Cabinet Approval.

With regard to regulating NWS&DB, the government is to amend the Water Board Act and also to introduce Water Industry Legislation. The City Planning and Water Supply Ministry is working on the legislation while a Steering Committee has been appointed for the same purpose. Kumarasinghe said legislation pertaining to the water sector may take more time as it is still in the drafting stage. (Daily News)

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