Dimming the lights

Apparently there’s a lot of controversy surrounding the recent island wide power cut that happened a few nights ago. I slept on the floor cos it was so hot.

Speculation is rife that electricity board workers executed it on purpose in protest of indications that the government is trying to privatize the CEB.

This itself is surrounded with rumor and speculation with certain quarters of the government denying it and certain others giving the impression of being on the fence. There are accusations that the government is ‘selling’ the CEB to pay off debt. There is also some weird IMF bailout related story going about, the details of which are slightly unclear to me.

The electricity board, like all other government departments, is ridden with corruption. A lot of tax money goes into paying idling workers and others who get employment ‘created’ for them after helping out in election campaigns. There are huge inefficiencies which translate into additional costs to the utility paying public; taxing them on both ends.

Further privatization will clean this up; I’m sure huge profits can be made just by clearing up the corruption and inefficiency in the system alone. But controls need to be put into place to ensure that corporate greed doesn’t manifest in another ugly monopolistic situation later on.

Whats shocking is realizing all over again the complete lack of transparency with which most things happen in Sri Lanka.

  1. Chavie said:

    I think I heard that the CEB is the most loss-making Govt. entity… and that in itself is no small feat… 😀

    and we still pay some of the highest electricity bills in all of South Asia…

  2. maf said:

    as much as i consider myself a libertarian i do not promote the privatisation of the ceb. electricity like roads should be provided by the govt and is imho a fundamental right. there are certain goods and services the govt should provide and i believe electricity to be one of them: otherwise a for-profit organisation would only provide electricity to their most profitable customers and forget about electrifying the rural masses.

    i seriously doubt that the CEB will ever be privatised: it would be handing over a state monopoly to a private entity with no competition for years to come – it also just goes against the grain of MR’s populist leanings. Besides why would they even start something like this 6 months before a general election they are likely to win by a landside?

    the CEB does need to be overhauled and the efficiency gains could be monumental and there may have been talk of this floating around …

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