Major facelift for electricity sector in 2016

6 January 2016 03:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • PUCSL announces 12 ambitious goals
  • Rs.242mn allocated for programme
  • “Cooperation and contribution of all stake holders vital”: PUCSL


By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka’s electricity sector is gearing up to undergo a major facelift this year with the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) having put in place a comprehensive plan to address issues and turnaround performance.
Kicking off the New Year with a more focused approach, the PUCSL on Monday (4) launched the ‘Activity Plan for 2016’ which supports the long term goals of the institution which includes increasing efficiency, quality of service, and enhancing technical standards and safety of the local electricity industry.
The 2016 plan spells out 12 ambitious goals and will be carried out with a budget of Rs.241.9 million. The agency said the execution will be carried out by the nine functional divisions of the PUCSL. “PUCSL role in reaching these goals is to intervene with stake holders within the regulatory framework stipulated in the relevant Acts. Cooperation and contribution of all stake holders are vital requirements in achieving these goals for the sector,” said 
the utilities regulator.
The commission added that once the primary level goals are achieved, it intends to set more advanced goals for the electricity sector in terms of technical, economic and safety performance outcomes.
Listing power quality as one the primary goals, PUCSL said it will work towards all consumers receiving the statutory quality levels of 230 V ± 6 percent for voltage and 50 Hz ± 0.5 percent for frequency by the year 2020. In terms of supply quality, it is expects the total electricity outage time experienced by a consumer within a year to be below 24 hours, and the total number of electricity interruptions experienced by a consumer within a year to be below 30 by the year 2025. Furthermore, by 2025 it also plans on restoring service line faults 
within two hours.
In a bid to increase service quality, the commission said that by 2020 it will make certainthat the average time spent by consumers to know their rights and obligations, in connection with the electricity or supply of electricity, will be below one day. Plans are afoot to ensure the average time taken by an electricity service provider to serve consumer inquiry, request, and complaint to be below 14 days.
The regulator also highlighted that by 2020 it aims to reduce by 10 percent the total cost incurred in supplying electricity in 2013, subject to adjustments for the generation mix and fuel prices. The charges levied by the service provider on services in 2013, is also hoped to be reduced by 10 percent in real terms by the year 2020.
By 2030 the PUCSL said electricity generation capacity will be installed to ensure the demands in the country are met all the time and under any circumstances. To ensure efficient use, the commission said it will have corrective measures in place so that 250 GWh of energy and 30 MW of capacity are saved by year 2025 through utility driven energy conservation programs.
Not leaving out the safety aspect, by 2020 it is hoped for number of fatal electrical accidents to be below 20 per annum.



Water and Petroleum under PUCSL

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) will oversee two sectors in addition to electricity with water and petroleum identified as additional areas to be regulated by the institution. 
Acknowledging that through the budget 2016 the government has provided the necessary policy and legislative backing to broaden and strengthen the commission; it said it would receive the regulatory powers of water services industry and petroleum industry, enabling a more cost reflective transparent pricing mechanism.
In the comprehensive ‘Activity Plan for 2016’ the commission pointed out that at present the downstream petroleum sector and water sector are not within the regulatory preview of PUCSL as the industry acts are not yet enacted.
Furthermore, it stated that the Cabinet has appointed the PUCSL to act as the shadow regulator for the lubricant and greases segment for advising and assisting the ministry on policy and regulatory matters.

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