Another attempt by the CEB for an emergency power purchase?

Another attempt by the CEB for an emergency power purchase?

Written by Staff Writer

15 Sep, 2019 | 9:08 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):- A plan by the Ceylon Electricity Board to purchase power from a Barge Mounted Power Plant has been revealed by the Ceylon Electricity Board Employees’ Union. They allege that a large scale financial scam is set to take place behind this transaction.

The Electricity Board has sought the permission of the Public Utilities Commission to purchase power from a barge that is anchored at the Colombo Harbour. Documents to call for tenders in this regard have already been prepared according to sources.

Between 2014 and now, there have been no steps taken to build any low-cost power plants. In its place, the ministry has consistently purchased power from the private sector since 2015. Chairman of the CEB employees union, Malaka Wickremesinghe says that the CEB is currently making huge losses and that in the period between 2015 and 2018 the loss was Rs. 113 billion. He further said that on a per capita basis that each person pays Rs. 5000 and that the projected loss this year is Rs. 139 billion.

While the powerplant in Galle was supposed to have contributed 100 Megawatts of power from the year 2018, it has not been built as of yet. While the Kerawalapitiya LNG Power plant was supposed to have been contributing to the national grid from 2018, the tender with regard to the plant has not been offered yet. The allegation of creating issues with that tender too has fallen on officials at the CEB. There has so far, also been no approval to a Solar Power plant that will contribute 1400 Megawatts.

Meanwhile the Secretary of the Solar Industries Association of Sri Lanka, Lakmal Fernando says that solar projects of about 1550 megawatts are currently stuck in the country and that if they are allowed to activate these with batteries, that they will not need to make such emergency power purchases.

The 100 Megawatts that were supposed to be contributed to the national grid from the Wind Power Plant in Mannar is yet to be added to the national grid. While Cabinet approval was granted for the purchasing of power on a short term basis from generators at State Institutions, that too has not been implemented.

Even the purchasing of 50 Megawatt machines have not been paid off due to the scams that have taken place, resulting in unsuitable machinery being purchased. In considering all this, a total of about 2000 Megawatts that was supposed to have been added to the national grid, has been missed out on. The shortfall shown to justify the emergency power purchasing is about 100 to 200 Megawatts.

The Chairman of the CEB Employees Union says that this is all a drama staged by the politicians, businessmen, and the dishonest officials to rip people off their money.

Convenor of the Electricity Consumers Association, Sanjeewa Dhammika says that they overspent about Rs. 25 per unit of electricity and that through this mafia that the Minister and the association are making commissions. He says that there are projects worth more than 3000 megawatts that are supposed to commence in 2019, 2020 and 2021 but without no plan for implementation.

However, previously the Minister put forward a cabinet paper in April to respond to emergency power purchasing from barges. The General Secretary of the Lanka Electricity Services Union, Ranjan Jayalal says that this ongoing scam is bigger than the heroin menace in the country, since instead of looking for solutions, that they are trying to worsen it. He added that when the issue gets bigger than they can earn commissions out of it.

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