CEB unions slam Rs. 70 bn power purchase since 2016 | Daily News

CEB unions slam Rs. 70 bn power purchase since 2016

A collective of Ceylon Electricity Board unions said the purchase of power from independent producers sans Cabinet approval since 2016 has caused a loss of nearly Rs. 70 billion, which could have been spent to add more power sources.

CEB Workers Union Chairman Malaka Wickremasinghe speaking at a media briefing yesterday said the government had consecutively purchased from independent power producers (IPPs), 100 MW in 2016, 200 MW in 2017, 300 MW in 2018 and has plans to purchase 600 MW this year.

Wickremasinghe said CEB employees are unaware of the cost at which the government had purchased power and laments that consumers who would eventually have to pay are equally clueless. “No tenders have been awarded for Keralawapitiya and no power plants in the generation plan have either been constructed or commissioned,” he said.

He singled out Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s claim that power interruptions would be halted from yesterday (11), saying the Minister was merely depending on large-scale industries which would close for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. “The Minister is well aware that these large-scale industries would close for the holidays and that would leave the rest of us with over 800 MW of power,” he said.

He added that if CEB had commissioned some of the plants listed in the Least Cost Long-Term Generation Plan, it could have added 1,000 MW during the last two or three years. CEB engineers have remained silent since they have been able to increase their salaries which has been an additional burden, costing the CEB some Rs. 10 billion annually.

Wickremasinghe also alleged that the government was in the process of backdating a circular which would make it legal for them to pay higher salaries for engineers, a move which was already vetoed by the Appeal Court last week.

When asked what the Cabinet paper was about, Minister Ravi Karunanayake told the Daily News that 53 percent of the individuals had been affected and this was a remedy. “Whatever is there to legalise the procedure has to be done as 53 percent of the people have been affected and this needs to be corrected.”


 

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