Policy Issues in the Electricity Sector of Sri Lanka

Research team

Tilak Siyambalapitiya




The IPS Publication is available for sale from the IPS premises at No. 100/20, Independence Avenue, Colombo 07 (Tel: +94-11-2143107, +94-11-2143100), and bookshops island-wide. For more details, contact the IPS Publications Unit.



Published Year

November 1996


US$ 10 (for hardcopy)

The electric power system in Sri Lanka is now experiencing possibly the worst-ever crisis during its 40 years of operation as an interconnected, national network. Shortage of generating capacity is the primary contributor to the present crisis. The secondary contributor is the below-average rainfall. Years of indecision about new power generating projects required to meet the growing demand, has resulted in the generating system being incapable of meeting the demand, even under average hydrological conditions. An over-optimistic policy about private power projects, over-emphasized environmental concerns, the ad hoc process of making policy declarations/investment decisions, and the proliferation of individuals and institutions who desired to have a say in the decision-making process and who finally made no decisions at all, are the reasons that caused the capacity shortage.

Table of Contents:

•    Introduction
•    Structure and Electricity Structure
•    The Crisis of 1996
      •    Power Generation Planning
      •    Power Quality and Technical Efficiency
      •    Management of the Power Sector and Decision-making
      •    Electricity Prices
      •    Investment and Ownership I ssues
      •    Power Sector and the Environment
      •    Summary of Urgent Policy Measures
      •    References
      •    Annex 1-5