Sri Lanka CEB in trouble due to politicians: minister

April 27, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run power utility is in financial trouble because politicians have made wrong decisions, a government minister said as the utility was issued a license by a newly set up regulator. “The Ceylon Electricity Board is in trouble because decision that should have been made by engineers have been made by politicians,” plan implementation minister P Dayaratne, himself a former energy minister, said.

“If not the CEB would have been a much more financially stable institution.”

The minister was speaking after Sri Lanka’s CEB was issued a license by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) under a new regulatory environment.

Officials said the law was passed through with the greatest difficulty despite opposition from a “certain political party” a reference to the Marxist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna which is against power sector reform.

Interference

Sri Lanka’s politicians have interfered for years to drive the utility away from its long-term least cost generation plan which advocated a shift to coal after the island’s hydro potential ran out.

But partly egged on by environmentalist and religious lobbies, Sri Lanka’s politicia