Keep Guessing

Electricity tariffs were jacked up by about seven percent last week, taking not just consumers, but ironically, the sector regulator, by surprise. Electricity tariffs were jacked up by about seven percent last week, taking not just consumers, but ironically, the sector regulator, by surprise.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) says it was not consulted on the increase. On a technical point though, it says it really didn’t expect to be this time around.

The tariff increase was filed before Cabinet decided to keep the PUC – created under the previous government – as a shadow regulator, when the powers that be was deciding its fate.

The Public Utilities Commission, under its original mandate was to regulate utilities, from tariff setting to fostering competition, starting with the electricity sector that was being over-hauled.

When a plan to un-bundle the Ceylon Electricity Board into independent companies for generation, transmission and distribution was replaced by creating state owned ‘business units’, it threw that mandate out of whack.

As shadow regulator for a year, the PUC will play in effect, a consultant’s role to