Hurdle One

Newly minted power sector reforms that sailed through Cabinet on Wednesday, may take about a year to implement, and if the government can scrape together enough votes. Newly minted power sector reforms that sailed through Cabinet on Wednesday, may take about a year to implement, and if the government can scrape together enough votes. That is, if trade union agitation still does not derail efforts. Largely Marxist led Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) unions are still opposed to plans to form companies under the state owned CEB.

The debt ridden Ceylon Electricity Board is the monopoly state power utility, with about 52 unions. Efforts to restructure it with donor help have repeatedly run into opposition.

Unions rejected moves to dismantle the CEB and spin off independent companies for generation, distribution and transmission, with the option of privatisation later.

Threatened island wide blackouts forced the government to re-draft the reform plan. Under the newly approved model, the CEB will be retained, and companies formed under this.

But Marxist unions want an even more watered down model of Strategic Business Units under the CEB, which by law would