The electricity supply industry still remains a state owned monopoly in Sri Lanka. It is organized in the form of two electric utility organizations the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Lanka Electricity Company (Pvt.) Ltd. (LECO). With an estimated asset base of about Rs.100 billion, the CEB is fully owned by the Government. The CEB, the Urban Development Authority and the Treasury/Local Authorities are shareholders of LECO.

The electricity generating system in Sri Lanka is in transition from a predominantly hydroelectric system to a mixed hydrothermal system with private sector participation. In the year 1999 of the total installed capacity of 1688 MW, of which the hydro capacity accounted for is 1143 MW. 


The following indicates the current and the future hydro/thermal mix in Sri Lanka.  

Transmission Network

Major portion of the low voltage transmission network is maintained by CEB and LECO is responsible for the distribution of power to the Greater Colombo area.

The electricity distribution system of the CEB consists of about 17,000 km of Medium Voltage Lines, 46,000 km of Low Voltage Lines and 11,000 Distribution Substations catering to about 2,000,000 customers that form approximately 50% of the total households. Emphasis is placed on the development of the system to strengthen the network for absorption of future load growth and new consumers. The country undoubtedly needs an expansion of the network for human equality but this objective requires a sufficient augmented electricity network capable of absorbing load growth at a low power cost.  




In Sri Lanka, the demand for electricity has been growing at an average rate of about 7% per annum over the past 20 years. A 10% annual growth in power consumption is forecast.  In order to meet this demand the country needs to generate an additional 1530 MW by year 2008. Sri Lanka is therefore increasingly looking at non-hydro sources of power.

Changes to the Power Sector

The Government is in the process of reforming and unbundling of CEB by restructuring the power sector and enacting a legislation to constitute a regulatory authority. The new power sector reform legislation is expected to be in place by mid 2001 and will provide for unbundling the generation, transmission and distribution operation of the CEB in to separate companies.  The companies are likely to include two or more power generating companies in addition to the private sector power generation plants that an already in operation, a power transmission company and appropriate number of power distribution companies.

Further information could be obtained from the Power Sector Policy Directions which sets out the basic principles on which the power sector may be restructured and reformed.

The Government is also encouraging investment in renewable energy projects such as, wind power and mini hydropower generation. It is estimated that Sri Lanka has the potential to realize at least 200 MW of power through the development of potential mini hydro sites in Sri Lanka.


The CEB currently has a Standardised Small Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA), in respect of renewable energy projects whose capacity is less than 10 MW. Unsolicited proposals are entertained by the CEB in respect of small projects less than 10 MW for which the SPPA would apply.


Summary of the projects completed and in the pipeline are as follows.






Asia Power (Pvt.) Ltd.


Commissioned on 18/06/1998 51  62 BOO*1

Colombo Power (Pvt.) Ltd.


Commissioned on 01/07/2000 60 72 BOO

AES Kelanitissa (Pvt.) Ltd.


Under Construction 163 103 BOT*2

ACE Power Generation Matara (Pvt.) Ltd.


Under Construction 20 22 BOO

ACE Power Generation Anuradhapura (Pvt.) Ltd


Under Construction 20 20 BOO



300MW Kerawalapitiya Combined Cycle Power Plant


RFP to be issued in the 1st Quarter 2002 300 To be determined BOT

3x300MW Coal Fired Project


Site to be identified 3x300 To be determined BOT

3x350MW Power Project


Expression of Interest  Issued on 30th September 2001. 3x350 To be determined BOT

Wind Power Generation


Request for Proposal to be Issued in the 2nd Quarter 2002 - To be determined -

[*1] BOO Build Own and Operate.

[*2] BOT - Build Operate and Transfer.


Source: Borad of Investments - Sri Lanka (BOI)