President’s Secretary orders closure of Public Utilities Commission

President’s Secretary orders closure of Public Utilities Commission

The president’s secretary has instructed the closure of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) – the regulator of Sri Lanka’s electricity industry, sparking concerns in the country.

“I am advised to instruct you to take necessary procedural steps to close the Public Utilities Commission,” president’s secretary P.B. Jayasundara said in a letter to the treasury secretary.

In the letter dated December 1, Jayasundara noted that the instructions are being issued in line with next year’s budget proposals concerning the PUC and the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board.

However, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had not put forward any proposal to close down the PUC in the 2021 budget speech he delivered in Parliament as finance minister.

“I also propose to amend the Public Utilities Commission Act and Ceylon Electricity Board Act to allow the rapid implementation of (power-related) projects,” Rajapaksa said in his address on November 17.

Harsha de Silva, an opposition lawmaker, questioned the government regarding the move to shut down the regulatory body during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

“How can they close down the Public Utilities Commission that serves as the regulatory body for the power sector?” he queried.