By Niranjala Ariyawansha
The Public Utilities Commissions of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) had informed President’s Secretary Austin Fernando in writing on 9 May, that the General Manager (GM) of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had not objected to any amendments being made by them to the Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) of the CEB.
That letter, which had been compiled by the Chairman of the PUCSL, Saliya Mathew, was “an utter lie”, said the Engineers Union of the CEB (CEBEU).
They have pointed out that the GM of the CEB A.K. Samarasinghe has sent three letters to the PUCSL explaining the opposition of the CEB to any amendments being made to the LCLTGEP.
Also, they added that the GM of the CEB had even sought the opinion of the Attorney General last year regarding the possibility of taking legal action against the PUCSL for having allegedly tampered with the LCLTGEP compiled by the CEB.
“This situation is more than enough for the President to remove the current Management of the PUCSL and appoint professionally qualified people to such posts. They continue to hoodwink the public and the Government by making fabrications and blatant lies,” said Executive Committee Member of the CEBEU Athula Wanniarachchi.
Also, in the letter sent to the President’s Secretary, by the PUCSL, it has been mentioned that the LCLTGEP compiled by the CEB had been amended based on the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, they noted.
However, during a discussion held with the President on 25 April, the Chairman of the PUCSL had stated that due to the policy undertaken by the President of having no more coal power plants in the country, the LCLTGEP had not been approved, they pointed out.
But, later PUCSL Director General Damitha Kumarasinghe added that due to the price of a Liquefied Natural Gas unit being less costly than a unit of coal power and because coal power plants had been included in the LCLTGEP, it had not been ratified.
However, based on the Electricity Act, the PUCSL has only been authorized to provide guidelines to the LCLTGEP formulated by the CEB and not to make amendments to them.
Wanniarachchi warned that the ongoing work-to-rule campaign launched by the CEBEU will not be stopped till such persons in the PUCSL, who spread fabrications in society, related to the current power crisis, are removed from their posts.
Meanwhile, based on the ‘Generation Mix’ which was included in the Government’s future power policy, that was ratified by the Cabinet last week, the PUCSL previously informed the CEB to recompile its LCLTGEP and send it across by yesterday (15).
In this backdrop, power outages were reported in several areas in Colombo for around five hours last morning, due to the work-to-rule campaign that has been launched by the CEBEU with effect from 8 May.
Media Spokesman of the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Sulakshana Jayawardene said that the reason for the power failure had been a technical error that had taken place at the Pannipitiya-Biyagama transmission line at around 7.20 a.m. yesterday.
As a result of it, power failures were reported from areas such as Sri Jayawardenepura, Boralesgamuwa, Dehiwela, Mount Lavinia, Ratmalana, Pannipitiya and Battaramulla, and many other areas.
When asked about this power failure, Wanniarachchi said, “Due to the work-to-rule campaign, we had to carry out an investigation and it took some time before power was restored, because we presently work according to the book.”
Ceylon Today learns that such power failures had taken place in several areas of the country since last week.