Exposé : Corruption surrounding emergency power purchasing

Exposé : Corruption surrounding emergency power purchasing

Written by Staff Writer

28 Jun, 2018 | 1:42 am

COLOMBO (News 1st) – Does corruption at the CEB place a burden on the general public?

The CEB purchases a unit of electricity at Rs. 28 from a privately owned power plant in Embilipitiya and the same unit is sold to the consumer at 16 rupees.

Though the CEB incurs a loss, that loss is also transferred to the general public. As per the long-term generation plan created to provide electricity at a lower cost, there have been no new power plants constructed in the country after the year 2014. The CEB purchases electricity from private power plants to supply electricity to the people.

This is also achieved by violating the legal framework of the country. As per the Lanka Electricity Act, when power is purchased, a proper tender process should be adhered to. An emergency power purchase, without calling for tenders, can only be carried out when the country is facing a national disaster situation or when a major power plant malfunctions over a long period of time. That process requires cabinet approval.

The CEB has not adhered to any of the above when purchasing electricity from the private power plant in Embilipitiya and further the agreement with the power plant which generates 100 megawatts expired in the year 2015. Though the agreement with the power plant had lapsed, it has been decided to purchase electricity from it for a period of 3 years from the 5th of April 2018.

During a time when the country was not facing a natural disaster or at a time when none of the power plants were malfunctioning over a long period of time, approval for this has been sought after providing various documents to the cabinet of ministers. The decision was taken when the public utility commission of Sri Lanka or the PUCSL  informed that it would violate the legal framework of the country.

When the PUCSL is taking steps to put a stop to these corrupt activities the Engineers Union of the CEB is demanding that officials of the commission be changed. One of the witnesses of the agreement entered with the Embilipitiya power plant, Assistant General Manager P.L.G Kariyawasam is also an active member of the Engineers Union of the CEB.

The approval of the constitutional council is sought when appointing members to the PUCSL which is the regulator of the CEB. A parliamentary approval is required if they are to be transferred or removed before the end of their tenure. Is the Engineers Union of the CEB campaigning to remove officials of the PUCSL because they took a strong stance against corruption?

Why is the Subject Minister, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya keen to seek cabinet approval for arbitrary proposals?

Ostriches bury their heads, hoping it will make them invisible. The general public understands what these politicians are doing thinking that they are invisible. Through scams of this nature, that are similar to the infamous bond scam the people of the country would only continue to be burdened.

 

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