Saturday, October 1, 2016

The IEEE Constitution amendment 2016 : As I see it

I am an IEEE grass root volunteer closing on my 9th year of IEEE membership. In this time period, I have been a student, young professional, graduate student as well as a professional member of IEEE. I am a member of both PES and IAS societies and have been a member of sections in Region 8 as well as Region 10. I have been a member of the Excoms of PES as well as section and have served as section YP chair, SAC and also as webmaster. This is because, I am a passionate believer in IEEE and the immense role that IEEE can play in helping overcome the ever increasing challenges thrust upon humanity. This constitution amendment is therefore a very important to me and I believe it is my responsibility to convey my views to the leadership as well as my fellow grass root members on the proposed amendment.
There is a huge archive running to 1995 (IEEEin2030) relating to restructuring of IEEE. I read a few of them and got a basic idea of what they are trying to achieve. My guess is that this amendment will not be passed because the BoDs approach has been to bull doze the amendment by appealing to the membership directly by bypassing the leadership of the IEEE’s OUs. The BoD requests that we vote for because it is proposed by them. However they have not understood that there is one thing that engineers universally despise, that is to be told that this is the best for you because we say so. The correct approach would be to pose us with the question, and ask us to come up with solutions. Now everyone will come up with answers but engineers are smart enough to recognize the best options, even if it is proposed by others. This surprising miscalculation points out to the fact that the top leadership has become way too disconnected with the grass root membership, who provide the engine and the fuel to drive IEEE.  

I have corresponded with our top leaders, Karen and Barry, and after much deliberation I have decided to vote against the amendments for the below reasons. Karen was kind enough to provide me a link to the IEEE2030 archive as well as to provide a detailed response to my questions. Kudos to her!

The amendment proposes to completely change the top level structure of the organization in a break or make approach

I do not understand why the proposed amendments can’t be integrated to the constitution a single (small) step at a time. This amendment proposes to completely change the system yet there is no case study done to understand the how a similar volunteer driven organization will respond to such drastic changes.
So for a first step we could choose the issue of misrepresentation of certain regions, (we could easily isolate this issue first), find a solution, and do the needful to solve it. Depending on the success of this, we could move to other issues. For example, if region 8 or 10 needs more representation, we could have a weighed approach to voting (BoD) or create new regions.
On the other hand, what if this change breaks IEEE? We have a system that is working and thriving compared to other similar volunteer organizations like IET. Why do we need to change the system (turn it upside down) and take such a huge risk when we are the clear leaders and light years ahead of our potential competitors?

Conflict of interest is a key underlying issue addressed by this amendment 

If the amendment goes through, the BoD will be voted by 100% membership votes. According to the proposers (BoD 2015), this helps IEEE to pursue a strategic direction that is not having any conflicts of interests. If we are to accept that the current conflicts of interests are detrimental to the organization, then they need to provide us with specific instances and examples where this had occurred in the past. In any case, I do not understand how the proposed BoD will not have conflicts of interest. The voters will vote based on their interest and the elected directors will be obliged to sponsor these interests. Though there will not be clear cut boundaries in the interests, still I am not satisfied with the proposed solution. The other side of the coin is that we will move completely from a state like representation in the BoD to a federal like representation.

In any case, as a global organization, different groups will have different interests. Be it a company, a country or a volunteer organization, there will be various people with different personal interests, yet it is the responsibility of the leaders to bring them towards a common platform. In fact that is how I measure the success of a leader. So for this I think we are medicating the wrong place. IEEE leadership should be smart and strong enough to channel all these towards our mission. In my opinion, we are trying to treat a broken foot by operating the hand!
In reality BoD should have fairer representation of the grass root membership, but the structure of representation should not change. I reality, this is how IEEE leadership mechanism operate;. I provide my interests to my section/local society and they provide that to the region and then the region/society representation conveys to the BoD. However it is very rare that a normal member gets to know about even one of the members of IEEE who are director material! And even assuming that I vote for a person with a great resume (which shows that he is dedicated towards IEEE goals and has great strategy skills), he will never have any responsibility towards me, unlike in the current scenario where if the region/society director acts out of order we can take action. He has direct responsibility to us. In any case it puzzles me to understand, what will motivate a director candidate to nominate him/herself in the proposed system.

Should IEEE be run as a business or a volunteer run organization?

 The success of IEEE in my view is because of it being a volunteer run organization. Be it IEEExtreme, region conferences, student activities all are created by volunteers and these amazing volunteers are the ones who made IEEE the leader it is today. Further, it is important to compare IEEE with a similar organization like IET. Why are we so far ahead of them? The answer is our student, women and young professional volunteers. They are people who came up with projects from IEEExtreme to MadC. They are the people who make IEEE colorful and drive the humanitarian efforts forward. Thus IEEE should be run by volunteers and we should not have any paid employees as members in any of our boards.

My concerns

1.       The BoD has being very aggressively promoting the amendments using IEEE resources where as the opposers have not had the same exposure. This kind of amendment should be controlled by an independent committee to ensure that the members both proposing and opposing gets equal exposure.
2.       Adding the ED as a non-voting member – Why should this be done? It should be justified by showing examples where the projects were negatively affected by his role been limited to an observer.
3.       Which is the “similar organization” that the investigation extrapolates to IEEE?
4.       Why is there so little discussion about the amendment? Why is the process done in such a fast paced manner? Why is there so few discussion regarding the amendment when we have a membership of over 400,000 professionals. Do members fear to voice dissent?
5.       No other alternatives have been explored by the proposers to address the short comings that this amendment is targeting. So it is natural that I ask, are there easier ways to do it?
6.       IEEE PES and many societies have opposed the amendment. Rather than paying heed to their concerns and wooing them over, the BoD has taken a inflexible stand. This might open a schism in the organization for one and even thinking of going for a vote in such circumstance is a questionable choice.
Quote -  “The bottom line is that the PES Governing Board is concerned that the constitution changes and the proposed governance models will do little to fix the problems of IEEE as we see them.” – has the BoD approached them and tried to negotiate and find solutions to the legitimate questions they pose? Quote -  “There’s a great likelihood that problems will get worse. With the three governance bodies instead of the one current BOD, it’s a given that IEEE overheads will rise even more, something that IEEE cannot tolerate. In summary, we cannot see how three governing bodies is a better alternative to solve the current problems and how allowing the BOD to make decisions on the structure of IEEE without membership approval will improve transparency.”

Our way forward

May be the concerns of BoD are real and may be not, yet I do not agree with the approach that they are using to bring about the changes. We need to have broader, inclusive and in-depth discussions and in any case the changes to the constitution should be done small step at a time (at each step, the response should be tested and depending on the response, the next amendment should be decided on). All OU’s should agree to the final document before bringing it to the membership for a vote. Even if the vote might be won, the disharmony that it will create  in the organization is not a price worth paying. That is because the strength of IEEE is in its unity! We all seek a panacea, but real problems have real solutions, which take time, patience, leadership and is also very grueling process. There are no any short cuts that provide instantaneous relief from all ills!

I only saw the seriousness of amendment after receiving the ballot. Therefore, I assume that most of the volunteers and members have no idea of what is happening. We need to be inclusive in this discussion and get all the OUs aboard and take small steps forward to provide solutions acceptable to all of us. In principle, I cannot vote for an amendment that my society affiliation asks me not to even if that amendment might be acceptable to me (This time it is not).

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Energy planning Methodology of the Sri Lanka electricity sector : Where did it all go wrong?

The news relating to the Sri Lankan electricity sector is currently swamped with different ideas on what the generation mix should be. Strong lobbying groups aka 'Energy Mafia', are lobbying for different Energy options from LNG,  Coal, Wind, Solar PV, Solar Thermal to Biomass. The clashing of opinions is good, but only as long as they result in far sighted decisions that will benefits the country.

Apart from the lobbyist the political entities and stooges are also going back and forth, armed with data, presentations and publications. Some even having the temerity to wave the manifestos of the winning political leader and quoting them as policy directives, rather than the National Energy policy gazetted in the parliament. By hook or crook these people are trying to enforce their thinking and force the energy mix in to what they perceive is good.

Unfortunately these discussions are not resulting in in any decisions, whereas quick decisions are needed to avert a power crisis in 2018. With all these systems in place, it is interesting to analyze why and how things went wrong in the current Energy planning process of the Sri Lankan electricity sector, and how the energy planning process should be changed to rectify the deficiencies. 

I strongly believe that the timeline of the energy planning process is wrong. What is the point in debating how to power year 2016 at the end of the year 2015? Obviously any power plant will take at least 3 years to build! It is not possible to build large power plants in a few months time and these should be hard decisions taken way before 2015 and currently should be in the implementation stage. Now let us take a closer look at the timeline of the Sri Lanka Energy planning exercise for 2015-2034, to understand exactly what went wrong. 

In August 2015, The TSO - CEB submitted the (biannually revised) LTGEP for 2016-2034 to PUCSL for approval. The PUCSL called for comments and public hearing in September. In January 2016, PUCSL rejected the plan and asked for the TSO to revise it.  The PUCSL did not ask, nor did the TSO give, a specific timeline for the submission of the revised version. Currently, in mid-June 2016, we are yet to see any revised LTGEP, which ironically plans out how the TSO serves the energy demand of 2016!. Talking about bad planning, this method must take the cherry!

What went wrong is simply choosing the wrong time line for the energy planning process. Simply put, a long term generation plan should never have short term decisions to be a part of it. The 2016-2034 plan should never be discussed at the the end of 2015. The plan that should be discussed is the 2021-2034 one. The decisions and the plan for 2016-2020 should be fixed and currently being executed. The plan for the short and mid-term electricity supply (say 5 years) should NOT be a part of the long term generation plan. Assuming that the planning exercise is conducted in the year X, then the Long term plan, that makes sense to discuss, should be the energy supply plan for the year from X+5 to X+20. Due to the long lead time required for constructing and commissioning a power plant this is the mechanism to follow if we are to  have a stable, cheap and reliable Electricity Power Supply for Sri Lanka.

In my opinion, not requiring to agree upon a timeline for the re-submission of the LTGEP shows the weakness of PUCSL. They are a very young organization and do not have  a experienced, qualified workforce to regulate the electricity sector. In fact, it could be argued that the weakness and naivety of the regulator is exploited  by the TSO. 

The PUCSL, the Energy ministry, and CEB are  still debating (in June 2016) on whether to go for Coal or LNG. However the plans for 2016 are not being executed which is the harbinger for a another era of power cuts! The planners should discuss the 2021-2034 plan this year but only while executing the 2016-2020 plan! They should change the planning methodology to reflect this timeline for future exercises! 

It is better to take bad decisions rather than taking no decision at all, because a shortage in electricity supply will cripple the economy of our country!                          

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My two cents on Implementation of a Single Standard for Plugs and Socket Outlets in Sri Lanka for Non-industrial Applications

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) today held a Public hearing to gather ideas from different stakeholders on the topic of "Implementation of a Single Standard for Plugs and Socket Outlets in Sri Lanka for Non-industrial Applications". My 2 cents on this topic, that follows as a result of presenting views in the open session as well as listening to all the speakers is given below.

Implementation of a Single Standard for Plugs and Socket Outlets in Sri Lanka
for Non-industrial Applications

My Recommendation: Do not accept the proposal 

Primary Reason: Too many drastic changes effected simultaneously. It should not be implemented without a more in-depth study into social and economic ramifications of this decision. 

Secondary Reason: Socket incompatibility is not the primary cause for the problems that are tried to be addressed by standardizing the SO to one type.  It is a secondary cause. Enough studies are not conducted about the cost on the economy and the methods to address the transition.

Suggested alternate solution: The primary concerns are to be addressed first and if the actions can be deemed successful next move towards standardizing the SO.

Technical aspects to be considered:

1.      Using 13A SO in 6A with emboss – Product design aspects – will the emboss work in a practical situation? – else any other solution needs to be found.
2.      When 5A is phased out – 13A will be mandatory – In cases where the cost is lower when 5A is used there will be a financial disadvantage to the users – Need to study the economic effect in depth and offer solutions to mitigate the effects. Government subsidy for people who cannot afford 13 A covering the extra cost spent to install 13 A circuit instead of 6A circuit. 
3.      What consists a good SO and a bad SO? Contact area or Contact resistance or maximum number of times it can be used or will the only gauge be contact resistance? A proper gauge needs to be used to compare the different SOs. Are type tests required for SOs? This is needed to ensure that the products are really of the proper quality and the manufacturers get a level playing field. The available standards of SLSI should be re-evaluated and given proper weight age in the examination process. 

Economic aspects to be considered

1.      Standardization will require the goods to be imported with 13A SO only. Therefore the common products for the South Asian market (1700 million people) will need to be modified before importing to Sri Lanka (20 million people). This will cause an increase in the cost of the goods. Need to study how much this cost is and ways to mitigate the effect of this problem.
2.      Class 2 (2 pin) Plugs will need to be modified to the Standard 13 A SO. How is this issue addressed in countries like UK. Even for small electronic equipment like phone chargers this will be a legal requirement. The costs will be high and the ease of use will be compromised. How is this problem mitigated? Maybe single adapters can be used. In this case how do we differentiate equipment that need to be 3 pin 13A and equipment where 2 pin is allowed with respect to import regulations?

Legal aspects to be considered

1.      PUCSL consultation paper itself shows the large loop holes in laws, as a result of which at present only 5A, 13A and 16A SOs are mandatory to be covered by the quality standards.

Although these standards are available, there are no regulations to ban plugs, socket outlets and socket outlet adaptors which do not comply with these standards. As a result, various low quality plugs, socket outlets and adaptors continue to be sold openly in the market.

The other types of SO and equipment plugs do not have any such requirement opening a loop hole to let in other types without a quality standard requirement. This creates a skewed playing field leaning towards the non standard SOs and plugs. First create and change the laws to cover this loop hole.

2.      PUCSL consultation paper presents the fact that even for the 5A, 13A and 15A SO where standards are prevalent, the quality is not checked by any of the consumer protection institutions.
“It is also noted that the Consumer Affairs Authority or any other agency has not enforced a ban on import and sale of non-compliant appliances. According to the gazette, only the 5 A & 15 A plugs, socket outlets and adaptors, and 13 A plugs and socket outlets that are imported should comply with the standards, but there is no control over other types of plugs and socket outlets imported to the country.”

If the existing laws cannot be practically enforced what is the point of making more rules which still will not be implemented. Suggest finding the reasons for non-implementation and making sure that the current laws are enforced before adding even more laws.

Safety aspects to be considered

Though the paper suggests that non existence of a single standard SO is the reason for causing un-safe operation I believe that it is but a secondary reason. The main reasons are of two fold. First is the weak and non-existent consumer protection. Second is the unawareness of consumers/industry about safe use of electricity.
1.      Even in high end shopping malls like Arpico extremely dangerous (cheap) multi sockets are sold. In fact as of this moment we have round pin (6A) multi sockets protected by a 6A fuse as well as the same protected by a 13A fuse. The other side of having these cheap but unsafe and dangerous adapters is that there is no possibility of buying safe and high quality multi-sockets/adapters, since they are not sold due to null demand as a result of higher prices. This issue needs to be tackled by first making quality standards for multi sockets and adapters for SL initially focusing on the safety aspect (The same needs to be done for extension codes). Then these should be made into laws. Finally means need to make available to protect and enforce these laws. Safety in this respect cannot be compromised and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the citizens are protected from faulty and dangerous products and equipments. It is proposed that PUCSL show the seriousness of this issue to the government and ensure that necessary steps are taken to protect the consumers of electricity. There is the possibility for the PUCSL to take class action against manufacturers and importers of unsafe adapters/multi-sockets and extension codes in order to show intent and emphasize the seriousness of this situation.

2.      However many standards are made and enforced, safety of electricity users would never be ensured if firstly the electricians who install the system and secondly the end users are not aware of the safety aspect. Effectively the population should be taught about safe use of electricity in primary schools. Further new connections should be provided after a small safety awareness session/training. Tertiary education for electricians should make sure that the safety aspect is emphasized in the curriculum. New electricity connection should be given by the distribution licensee only and only if the wiring is done to the proper standard.  A practical mechanism that is effective should be set up to ensure that wiring standard is followed to the letter.

The proposed way forward

Implement the suggested measures. At the point where all these measures are fully implemented, move towards standardizing the socket outlets to one single type.

Public Consultation on The Long Term Generation Expansion Plan 2015-2034 For Sri Lanka

The slides are  linked : My presentation

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Trening at SIO

From being a couch potato for around 3 years I started working out again with SIT in Trondheim from April 2014.

I have come to OSLO from June 2014 to work on the summer job with stakraft. Using the guest card given by SIT I work out at SIO, started with 1 class a day, varying the routines in June, but this week I amplified my workouts to see where my bodies point of breakdown is and  found it too.

Last week the 15 classes that I attended was,

10-11 Cardio Challenge Elen T
11-12 Yoga Elen T

12-1 Step Class
1-2 Pump
Didnt go 100% due to a wrist that had got sprained a week ago
Atheletica CENTRUM
4-5 Step Basic
Used this as a warm up for the other sessions.
5-6 Ball core
It was fun with some pair work added into the mix.
The session was called FEEL and it was a real High Intensity Training Work out including both strenth and endurance

Atheletica DOMUS
6-7 Circle training
This was also strength and cardio training but done in a circle using diffrenet aids, starting from the STEPs to dumb bells.
8 pack
This was focused on the stomach and the back.

5-6 Strenth 45
This was both pump using weights and body weight exercises and was a hard core workout. The Trainer nmade the 45 minutes feel like 45 hours!
Missed the 4-5  class because of a traffic jam and the 6-7 class was cancelled!

5-6 Cycling interval
Spinning for 1 hour as a warm up
6-7 Basis ball
This was very interactive session, hardcore full body workout, the instructor even had the students wrestling each other!

4-5 Yoga Restority
Felt quite good, since the focus is to restore the body after a hard week.
5-6 Cardio challenge
Felt a hamstring pain and so didnt go 100% , the right hamstring continued to be painful and hurt like hell.

10-11 Cardio challenge
This workout was the most hard core cardio added to difficult dance move that I have yet done. In the morning didnt feel a pain in the hamstring , just a little twinge.
However i went light on my right leg and decided to quit the 12-1 circle training session I had planned earlier.

The 15 hours workout time in a period of a week is a personal record for me!

Initial planned to do same as last sunday but now Planning to make it a total rest day so that i can go to the edge next week as well. My left hand is now giving me pain. so I believe this is my body at the edge of the breakdown limit. Feeling curious if i will have the motivation and if the body will be able to keep up with this schedule.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The role of "Marriage" in the modern society!

Having wondered around in the years after my graduation, I got in to many adventures and mis-adventures which has left me much more worldly and experienced in many aspects of life. Based on some of them , i decided to blog some of my personal views about the function of "Marriage" in thesociety.

For some time now, I have wondered on what role "marriage" has to play in the modern society. And my current feeling is that it doesn't have any purpose except for legal and economic reasons (in the current context). 

I say this  based on the below facts,
  •  If You stay in a relationship with another person with the only reason being inability to get out of it because of legal, economic and social pressure then it is a failed relationship. Everyone involved in it will be unhappy.
  • But in most of the cases it is very difficult to get out of such a marriage and be separated because of the pressure, the marriage framework exerts on you. This leads to continued unhappiness in the parties involved.  
Now on why a non-marriage relationship would be more effective,
  • If you are in a relationship which is making you unhappy you can easily get out of it.
  • The relationships are more healthy because the partners will not take the relationship for granted but will always work to strengthen it , IF they value the relationship. The fact that something of value will be lost will always work on the partners minds, IF they value the relationship and thus this will make the relationship healthier and stronger with time.
  • Now if the relationship becomes unhealthy and makes them unhappy, or in other words they DON'T value the relationship, they can easily get out of that situation and go towards a situation which makes them feel happy. So bad, unhealthy relationships will be naturally broken. 
  • Currently living in Norway I see a very successful framework based on the above in action. Norwegian are happier and much better with it , is the way I see it.
On why this situation has arisen in the context of the modern society is, as per my personal view;
  • Gender equality has increased. If, Each person irrespective of the gender, is self sufficient and confident enough to live and support themselves alone, Therefore being in a marriage doesn't become the only way to survive. In other words,  if the woman/man not in a marriage can't live alone, or doesn't have   the necessary economic, social and personal attributes to be self sufficient, as was the case in early society, marriage becomes a matter of survival. 
  • Even in the context of the modern society, in some parts of the world the society discriminates on women who are living unmarried but are economically self sufficient. It is not possible to have a healthy social life in such a society. So being self sufficient in a economic perspective is not sufficient at all. The society must be developed enough to accept gender equality. Which is the case in countries like Norway.
 And the gist is,
If you live in a developed society perhaps being a relationship without a marriage might be the way for happy, healthy long term relationship!
And when considering a partner be it a a guy/girl having someone who is self sufficient in every aspect will  contribute to a happy healthy long term relationship, though in the sort term, the depended upon type of relationship might look the more attractive! We do like when others admire us and depend on us, but for a healthy long term relationship that would be a negative aspect in my opinion.

Reading the below article published in the internet, led me to a thinking process which resulted in blogging my ideas after a long time.

To me the above link seems to be a very good indicator on what a perfect woman should be for a man to be with.
Of course goes without saying that us guys should also develop our selves to facilitate such a mature a relationship.
I will copy and paste the full article so that it is easily viewed directly from this blog.

13 Ways You Know You’re Dating A High-Quality Woman

Mar. 25, 2014
1. She encourages you to pursue your goals, but she doesn’t micromanage. She trusts you to make the right decisions in your own life. She’s the cheerleader, not the coach.
2. She doesn’t try to make you jealous. She’s secure in her worth, and your ability to recognize how valuable she is. She doesn’t need to play games to “trick” you into seeing her her for what she is.

3. She doesn’t have a princess complex. She demands that you treat her with respect — but because she is a person you love, not because she is a woman and therefore magically entitled to something. Just as she would expect you to treat your friends and family with respect, she knows you wouldn’t treat her any other way. A high-quality woman wouldn’t be with a man who was disrespectful to the people he is close to in life.
4. She has a part of her life that doesn’t involve you. Friends, hobbies, career — whatever. She’s confident and independent enough to not need your involvement in everything she does.
5. You wouldn’t think twice about inviting her into different parts of your life: a barbecue with your college friends, a dinner with your parents, a fancy work party — she knows how to handle herself in different settings. She’s mature enough to make a good impression with your colleagues and wise enough to know letting loose with your friends and having fun doesn’t mean she’s immature.
6. She takes care of herself. This doesn’t mean she is perfect, it means she is always improving. You don’t have to tell her she needs to solve a problem in her life. She’s self-aware and sees what issues she has and is self-motivated enough to constantly be working to improve them. She needs a partner, not a dad.
7. When she is in a situation where she doesn’t know people, she introduces herself confidently. She doesn’t cling meekly to your side waiting for you to facilitate every social interaction.
8. A reasonable, non-hyper-conservative employer could look at her social media presence and hire her.
9. She isn’t shy about sex. If she doesn’t want to do something, she can articulate why instead of just saying “ew”. Your sex life with her isn’t a shady secret she feels uncomfortable talking about, it’s adult and healthy and you both work to keep the flame alive.

10. She has opinions more than “idk” and she can talk calmly and non-hyperbolically about them. If she disagrees with you, you can have a conversation about it without anyone raising their voice.
11. She would never joke with her friends or family (or worse, your friends or family) about how men are “stupid” or childish, or whatever “happy wife happy life” mantra you’ve heard women use to put down the partners they love.
12. She knows what she wants in life. She doesn’t change her values or goals to tailor fit the guy she is with.
13. You feel lucky to be dating her because you know she would never date anyone just to date them. She isn’t afraid to be single and she is self-sufficient. You know she is dating you because she’s attracted to you and she thinks that you will help each other grow to be even higher quality, together.

A Super writeup!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oral Presentation: Comments presented at the 2nd Public hearing for tariff revision for PUCSL Sri Lanka

Hasala Dharmawardena (MIEEE, MIET) 
Electrical Engineer
Member of IEEE Power and Energy Society
Honorable Chairman & Commissioners of the Public Utilities commission:
I am an electrical engineer with a keen interest in the energy sector. I have seen the Electricity Act being enacted, the PUCSL empowered and also participated at the last public hearing.
In such a setting I would like to present to you some points that I believe will help the Electricity Sector of our country.
The 2010  tariff revision was based on the "Consultation Paper On Setting Tariff for the period of 2011-2015". In fact this was the tariff setting policy formulated by the PUCSL to satisfy "General Policy Guidelines" set by the government.
The tariff was not revised by the PUCSL for 2012 and the decision to revise tariff for 2013, was taken earliest in March. It is evident that it was very hastily prepared and thus today we are looking at a Tariff Proposal which is incomplete, and which contradicts with the spirit of all the good work done by the PUCSL from 2010. The tariff structure has been turned upside down in such a drastic manner, that it is difficult to find any continuity.
The electricity sector needs stability and the investors need confidence in the Regulator. Therefore the Golden Rule for tariff revision is be to be consistent with the "Consultation Paper On Setting Tariff for the period of 2011-2015" issued under section 30  of the Sri Lanka Electricity Act 2009. Section 30 states that "Tariff shall be in accordance with the cost reflective methodology approved by the commission" .
This proposal is not in accordance to it and in my humble opinion should not be implemented at any cost.
Now let me take you to the key conflicts in the proposal.
1.       The 2011 proposal implemented a block tariff with very smooth tariff increase. However the new proposal by the utility is about implementing a flat tariff full of high peaks & low valley, sometimes reaching a gut wrenching value of 120%.
No doubt that the tariff should be increased but it should have been increased every six months, in a gentle, planned manner from 2011 to 2013, as per the PUCSL proposal, and consumers would have found it much more easily adaptable. This gives rise to the question as to why the PUCSL did not follow its own policy by not increasing the tariff in 2012?
2.       The utility tariff proposal is drastically opposite to the road map for tariff rebalancing in the period from 2011 to 2015 (Table 15) given by PUCSL in 2010.
3.       TOU tariff was to be made mandatory for all users, except domestic and religious in 2013 as per PUCSL plan. However as per the utility proposal GP1, HP-1,GV1,GV2,GV3 and IP-1 all are still without TOU.   
4.        In contrast to reducing the blocks for domestic consumers, in this proposal one new category of 300 units is added and total number of blocks increases by 1.
5.       In contrast to unifying all users except Domestic and religious in 2013, an Extra 210 Group is added to GP-1 and no unifying is proposed. No reactive power charge is added either. All subsidies to be addressed outside the tariff. However as per current proposal, General purpose consumers are surcharged a massive 15 billion rupees, while Industrial consumers are subsidized by 16 billion, in total negligence to the road map set by PUCSL.
This new proposal is not in harmony with the 2010 proposal and no plan for the future is given either.
Having such gigantic strategy reversals in tariff policy done in such a careless manner will corrode consumer confidence and affect the future of the power sector negatively is what I feel.

In the same consultation paper a very effective way by the utility, to become more transparent to the  customer through providing a cost breakdown tier-wise while also including the surcharge/subsidy in the bill, was proposed in Table 19 and 20. However after 2 and half years we are yet to see this implemented. Propose that PUCSL implement it immediately.

In the tariff proposal by Utility, we see a FAC which does not serve any purpose but to distort the real energy cost. Request the FAC to be made Null and corresponding value included in the energy cost.

Taking your attention to point 6 of the utility proposal, we can see that the subsidy analysis is incomplete. The assumption of taking the cost of supply as equal for all categories is not acceptable in my view. The analysis should be done using a methodology similar to the analysis done in the 2010 PUCSL consultation paper  section 5.1, Table 14.  

As per policy set in budget 2011, GV1,GV2,GV3 and religious  categories of customers got a rebate of 25% in the electricity bill, however those customers bill has not being increased at all, when the average increase is 27% for this proposal. Effectively this increases the rebate to 52%. This is deviant from the government guideline. Since anyways the electricity bill for these institutes are foot by the government, either directly or as a subsidy for the bill, propose that the PUCSL advise the government, to either give free electricity to them while government directly is charged for the bill by the utility, or else charge the institutes a fully cost reflective bill which too is ultimately paid by the government. This method is better since this forces them to prioritize expenses to optimize the limited budget.

In summary, consistent policy to be followed for tariff setting, FAC to be removed, subsidy to be re-analyzed, and rebate to be kept at 25% and not to be increased without government directive are my observations.
In my opinion I feel the PUCSL needs to give thought to the legitimate expectations of the people. Implementing this tariff proposal is a sure way of destroying it. I respectfully request the PUCSL to halt this revision and take more time and put more effort to develop a new tariff and  till it is implemented increase Fuel adjustment charge to counter the increased costs. This tariff will define the future of all Sri Lankans.

Though this public hearing was organized as per a legal requirement, it is evident that the members of the PUCSL have put forward their hearts and souls to make it a success. I thank the staff of the PUCSL,  from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity given to me. 

Presentation at: