By Niranjala Ariyawansha

A five-member committee, appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has recommended that the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) withdraw its policy document and approve the Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

The instruction was given when Wickremesinghe met the representatives of the CEB administration, the CEB Engineers Union (CEBEU) and the PUCSL. Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera were also present at yesterday’s (7) meeting. A representative of the CEBEU told Ceylon Today, that all parties had agreed to adopt the new LCLTGEP, in place of the generation mix principle of the Government’s power and energy policy, which has been approved by the Cabinet.

However, the CEBEU noted that their Trade Union action will not conclude until the LCLTGEP is approved.

The CEBEU launched a work-to-rule campaign from 8 May, demanding the immediate adoption of the LCLTGEP and the removal of PUCSL Director General Damith Kumarasinghe.

Holding a press conference yesterday morning, prior to the announcement of the Prime Ministerial committee’s recommendations, they warned that the activities of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant will  be held back if their demands are not met.

The 900 Megawatt Norochcholai Power Plant, presently, supplies 30 per cent of the country’s power needs. During the dry season, the Norochcolai Power Plant provides 50 per cent of the requirement. “Because of this, there will be a two-hour-long power cut around the country. The Government will have to take the responsibility for this,” CEBEU President Saumya Kumarawadu said.

The environmental impact licence for the Norochcholai Power Plant, from the Wayamba Environment Authority, has been delayed due to a lawsuit filed by a non-government organization. However, according to the CEBEU, the CEB has fulfilled all requirements in order to obtain the licence.

The five-member committee, led by the Secretary to the National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry, K.D.S. Ruwanchandra, which assessed the LCLTGEP, was appointed on 30 May. The report is scheduled to be submitted on 23 June.
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