By Niranjala Ariyawansha
The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) has decided to engage in trade union action of work to rule from Tuesday 8 May, demanding that Director General of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Damitha Kumarasinghe quit his post and immediately approve the Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plane 2018-2037 (LCLTGEP) of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
They inform the public that the responsibilities of the inconveniences that could affect the people due to their trade union action should be accepted by the government.
Anyhow, the CEBEU says that steps will be taken to ensure continuous electricity supply to places of importance such as hospitals and places connected to national security.
They have also decided to suspend all types of official communication with the Director General of the PUCSL.
Although they had mentioned that this trade union action of work to rule would be launched on 20 April, they had postponed it due to the Vesak Festival.
During the entire past the CEBEU alleged that instead of the LCLTGEP prepared by the CEB, the PUCSL had approved a Long-Term Generation Plan prepared by them. In protest they left all Technical Committees from August 2017.
Thereafter, on 25 April, the CEBEU had held a discussion with President Maithripala Sirisena on the existing situation. The PUCSL, the Management of the CEB as well as the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Dr. Suren Batagoda participated in this instance.
During this discussion, the President had informed the PUCSL to approve the LCLTGEP (2018-2037) of the CEB. Sources said that if the Cabinet approves this plan, the PUCSL had said they will do so too.
However, the CEBEU says that even though the LCLTGEP (2018-2037) is approved, the officials of the PUCSL would obstruct it when being implemented.
The Secretary of the Ministry responding to an inquiry we made, said that the Power Policy of the State prepared by the Ministry will be presented for Cabinet approval on the following Tuesday.
“This policy document has been approved by the National Economic Council. If Cabinet approval is received, the PUCSL could check whether it has been prepared according to the LCLTGEP (2018-2037) which has been submitted by the CEB at present. I will send them a letter informing them of this. If the PUCSL can carry out big changes, in the CEB, LCLTGEP (2018-2037) saying that it does not compare with the government policy, they should be able to incorporate minor changes in the State policy which has now been approved,” Dr. Batagoda emphasized.