Sri Lanka public utilities regulator marks consumer rights day with a forum

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Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator held the second edition of ‘Consumer Rights’ Forum, featuring an eminent panel of experts , on 28th March 2016 at the Bandaranaike Center for International Studies to mark the occasion of ‘Consumer Rights Day’.

This noteworthy initiative by PUCSL reflects the thought leadership in driving Sri Lanka’s electricity, petroleum and water services industries in a strategic direction which will benefit the consumers and the nation.

The panel of experts who participated for the forum shared the vision for the industry in consumer prospective and how to develop it in a sustainable manner.

Director General of Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, Damitha Kumarasinghe delivered the keynote speech and covered some of the latest trends in Consumer Rights around the world and topics related to Electricity, Water and Petrolium sector.

Other speakers include the likes of H N Gunasekara ; General Manager of Lanka Electricity Company Private Limited, Eng. Chulani Perera; Additional General Manager- Distribution Division 01 – Ceylon Electricity Board, Nadun Fernando; Managing Director – Ceylon Petrolium Corporation, W B G Fernando ; Additional General Manager (Corporate Service) – National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Ranjith Vithanage ; President – National Movement of Consumer Rights Protection represented at the Consumer Rights Forum 2017.

Chairman of Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka; Saliya Mathew in the opening remarks, said: “Consumer Rights are one of the most critical subjects that involves with day to day life of people like you and me. Electricity, Petrolium and Water Services are three main things that we cannot live without. So identifying and been empowered by rights and obligations in those three utilities are vital for the society to demand for a better service.”

Commenting on the occasion, Director General of Public Utilities Commission, Damitha Kumarasinghe said, “ The challenge for the utilities and the regulators is to strategize on how we should exploit the service quality and the product quality in a responsible manner and deliver a value that will be sustainable in the long term. We felt that conceptualizing the consumer rights and obligations was very timely for Sri Lanka, which is experiencing a boom in many developed countries,”

“The Consumer Rights Forum 2016 has proven as a generator for valuable ideas for utilities and for the regulator. Taking forward the forum 2017, we plan to launch 11 rules and guidelines in the areas of Planned & Unplanned Power outages,Name changing of an electricity account,Billing,Acquisition of way leave,Entering into premises , Meter Tampering etc.” Kumarasinghe added.

On 28 March, the agenda explored the most pressing issues with regard to electricity, petroleum and water services’s consumer rights and obligation, achieving quality service, smart utilities, clean water, affordable energy and consumer’s obligations.

Underpinning this will be a focus on collaboration and establishing new partnerships that bring together all the utilities from all arenas – public, private and the third sector – and the creation of new frameworks to support the development of the country.