- Members of the PUCSL agree with the tariff rate revision.
- Chairman Janaka Ratnayake is left in the lurch.
All three members of PUCSL have agreed with President Ranil Wickremesinghe to revise electricity tariff rates effective January 1. The chairman of the PUCSL disclosed
Addressing the press, the chairman said that although all the members of the Public Utilities Commission initially opposed the proposal for an interim increase in the electricity rates from the first of January presented by the Cabinet of Ministers, they changed their minds after a meeting with the president yesterday.
Ratnayake, who admitted he was left in the lurch, vowed to carry forward his solitary struggle on behalf of the unsuspecting consumer.
He said that this interim price increase is illegal in terms of the Electricity Act 2009. He, as the chairman of the commission, is the only one against this proposal for a tariff hike, so he hopes to seek assistance from the judiciary within the next two or three days.
Elaborating on the matter, he said:
“The proposal to make an interim price revision effective from the first of January came from the cabinet. Also, permission had been requested from the Electricity Board before February 15 to revise the electricity tariffs. On January 12th, the members of the commission jointly considered these proposals and informed the cabinet secretary in writing that such an interim price increase could not be done with retrospective effect. It is not possible under the law, and that is contrary to the provisions of the Act.
Meanwhile, two special events took place yesterday. The Public Utilities Commission had been summoned before the National Assembly in Parliament. But before this, the president had made an urgent call to the other commission members except me. It happened without my knowledge. About a month ago, the president said that he wanted to meet me. However, he met with other members except for me yesterday. The president said a month ago that he wanted to meet me. But the rest of the members met him without me. But I did not know that other members were called yesterday.
Later, they also came to the National Assembly. That’s where the cat was let out of the bag. The members of the commission, who were on the same frequency as me, changed their previous stance when the National Assembly asked about the interim price revision brought by this cabinet.
They admitted there that they had apparently opposed this proposal without knowing facts. But they said now they understand that it was a mistake, and I was embarrassed by the turn of events.
From the 12th to the 19th, these commission members had the opportunity to say that our decision was wrong. But they didn’t.
Accordingly, today I thought that I should discuss this with them. A meeting was held with the members of this commission. They signed to say that they endorse the interim price revision presented by this cabinet. Udeni Wickramasinghe, Mohan Samaranayake, and Chathurika Wijesinghe informed me in writing with their signatures. The revision of the electricity bill presented by this cabinet should be expedited. This demand is fully covered by the Electricity Act. They said
I do not agree with these commissioners in any way. It is wrong for an independent commission to be improperly influenced by political power. Political interference is something that should be avoided. I will take legal action personally within two or three days. If you work under political pressure, it will set the wrong precedent. “In that context, orders coming from the cabinet will have to be followed in the future as well,” he said.
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