(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has refused to approve the demand management program by Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
The electricity sector regulator said the demand management schedule violates and affects the rights of more than 331,000 candidates sitting for the 2022 G.C.E. Advanced Level examination.
This announcement comes in the background of PUCSL’s earlier notice to CEB that requests for power cuts would not be green-lighted until 17 February 2023.
In a letter directed to CEB’s additional general manager on Friday (Jan 27), PUCSL chairman Janaka Ratnayake explained the decision was taken with the intention of safeguarding the human rights of the A/L examination candidates.
In its letter, Ratnayake went on to note that the PUCSL granted the approval for all requests made by the transmission licensee for scheduled power interruptions made from February 18, 2022 to January 25, 2023 under Condition 30(10) of Electricity Transmission and Bulk Supply License No. EL/T/09-002.
Meanwhile, the officials, who participated in the recent discussion with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) with regard to the uninterrupted supply of electricity during the A/L examination, have vowed legal action against the officials of the rights body, alleging that they were coerced into signing certain documents.
Speaking on the matter, Minister of Power & Energy Kanchana Wijesekera stated that President Ranil Wickremesinghe too has been informed of the incident.
Wijesekera said he was informed by the ministerial secretary of the incident in which the officials in question, who had taken part in the discussion, had been pressurized into signing two documents by two officials of the HRCSL, after having been threatened with jail sentences.
On Wednesday evening (25 Jan.), the HRCSL convened an urgent meeting with the top officials of the CEB, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) ,the Ministry of Power & Energy and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), during which an agreement was reached not to impose power cuts during this period in order to minimize the inconvenience caused to the students sitting for the exam.
In response, the HRCSL has filed a defamation complaint against these claims. The complaint was also filed on the grounds of neglect, a statement issued by the HRCSL read, as scheduled power cuts of two hours and 20 minutes continued, despite the agreement reached by all parties at the said inquiry to refrain from imposing power cuts while the exam is taking place.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, M. P. D. U. K Mapa, Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), M. S. Illangakoon and the Attorney General have been named as respondents in the complaint.
Against this backdrop, the PUCSL has asked the members of the public to inform the commission in writing of any unauthorized power cuts imposed by the CEB.
Electricity consumers are urged to file complaints in this regard via the PUCSL’s hotline – 077 568 7387 (or WhatsApp), email – [email protected] and fax – 011 2 392 641.