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Ceylon Chamber of Commerce welcomes New Electricity Bill aimed at CEB reforms

June 08, Colombo (LNW):In a landmark decision, the Parliament of Sri Lanka has approved the long-awaited Electricity Bill, marking a significant milestone in public sector reform. 

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, which has been advocating for this change for the past few years, warmly welcomes the decision, hailing it as a courageous and transformative step forward for the nation’s electricity sector.

The new bill paves the way for open access and the unbundling of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), a reform that has been in the making since 2001. 

This move is expected to enhance efficiency, promote competition, and attract much-needed investment into the electricity sector, ultimately benefiting consumers with improved services and more competitive pricing.

The Chamber commends the government and Parliament for their visionary leadership in passing this critical legislation. 

This is a significant step towards modernizing our electricity sector, ensuring a reliable and efficient supply of electricity, and fostering a more competitive market environment.

While the overall reception of the bill is overwhelmingly positive, the Ceylon Chamber expresses a note of caution regarding the transfer of certain powers to an advisory council appointed by the minister, which can potentially undermine the role of the regulator, raising concerns about the independence and effectiveness of regulatory oversight. 

The Chamber suggests a clear demarcation of roles where advisory council focuses on policy development, while the regulator retains its regulatory powers.

A strong, independent regulatory framework is essential for the success of these reforms. Therefore, the Chamber urges careful consideration of the advisory council’s structure and its potential impact on the regulator’s autonomy.

Despite these concerns, the approval of the Electricity Bill represents a pivotal moment in Sri Lanka’s journey towards a more efficient and sustainable electricity sector. 

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce remains committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of these reforms and to address any challenges that may arise.

Currently loss making Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is now in for systematic restructuring process by unbundling it into eight separate corporate entities for power generation, transmission, and distribution, a recent board paper on administration specified.

The board paper clearly indicated that it plans to reduce massive losses of the CEB by transforming it into an 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).

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