Written by Staff Writer
10 Aug, 2019 | 2:31 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Speaking in parliament today (August 9) Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ravi Karunanayake provided answers to some of the issues that have cropped up in the power sector of the country.
UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri questioned the subject ministers opinion about the 200 employees of the CEB who have suffered due to political vengeance. He pointed out that there are those acting against these people’s issues being addressed. Responding to this Minister Karunanayake noted that the reason for this issue is because these employees do not have the required educational qualifications. He added that this is why they cannot be included in the procedure of the CEB.
MP Wijeysiri noted that these are two institutions that participate in the power generation process of the country. He questioned as to why the Ceylon Electricity Board is suffering a loss while LECO is earning profits.
Explaining the situation Minister Karunanayake said the CEB provides electricity to LECO for free and through providing this for free the loss is borne by the CEB. Therefore, he noted that it is there is a total loss of Rs. 6100 million and the CEB is bearing the entire loss. He pointed out that they are fighting to reduce the diesel that is at Rs. 30 to Rs. 16 or 17. However, he adds that there are various obstacles. He said the measures they are introducing in parliament to promote renewable energy is being stopped by a certain group.
Meanwhile, MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara noted that he has seen electricity being disconnected in a relatively short time. He noted that the workers do not climb up but they just turn off the switch. He pointed out that he doesn’t know how the labor needed for this increased.
Subject Minister noted that if they consider the Rathnapura District, it costs about 5 to 6 thousand to get there, therefore because of that issues he has asked if they can install new pre-paid meters to solve the issue. He noted that within 3 to 4 months they will install pre-paid meters at places that use less than 180 units and following the installations they will not have an issue with power being disconnected.
Meanwhile, Minister Ravi Karunanayake also spoke of the electricity amendment draft bill. He noted that the Sri Lanka Electricity act has not allowed them to sign an agreement with a single small scale hydropower plant, or a timber power plant or any other renewable energy power plants. He added that under the Sri Lanka Electricity act the Ceylon Electricity board does not have the power to do this and because of these disparities, the construction of renewable energy power plants during the past 5 years had come to a complete standstill.
Minister Karunanayake noted that the Attorney General in 2013 had informed of a requirement to issue tenders to obtain power from all renewable energy power plants and the Cabinet of Ministers decided in 2014 that the act should be amended again. He noted that thereby on the 20th of August 2018, the Sri Lanka Electricity Amendment Act was gazetted.
He pointed out that the Attorney General on the 2nd of August 2019 had stated that the provisions of the proposed act is not in accordance with the 19th constitutional amendment, thereby the draft act was withdrawn. He added that therefore, the Attorney general is giving them different opinions. The Minister said they are saddened by the fact that they are attempting to give inaccurate interpretations to this again and allow the oil mafia to continue.
MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara noted that he is speaking of a problem regarding the Attorney General and the problem here is that he should not interfere with the powers of the Utility Commission. Responding to this Minister Karunanayake noted that if they want the innocent consumer pay Rs. 45 let them pay it, but this price can be reduced to between Rs. 10 and 16.
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