CEB engineers threaten to shut down Norochcholai

Norochchole Coal Power Project

The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) has warned that it will have to shut down the Lakvijaya Coal Power Station, Norochcholai if the environmental protection license (EPL) is not granted by next Tuesday.

Several other plants, including those at Matara and Embilipitiya, which need clearance certificates would also have to be shut down, CEBEU President, Saumya Kumarawadu said.

This decision was taken by the Executive Committee of the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) yesterday. It was decided to not attend to any breakdowns after regular working hours and on holidays under any circumstances from today.

The CEBEU chief said: “Although the union commenced a work-to-rule campaign on May 08, the engineers continued to carry out maintenance work, taking into account the disaster situation. Even though we did not carry out our normal duties after 4.15 PM on working days, we attended to major breakdowns to prevent long drawn out power outages. We did this because there is a high risk of complete power failure, if we do not attend a breakdown of a major transmission line or major power plant,” Kumarawadu said.

However, since they were going to properly carry out the union action they could not operate power plants that had not received proper environmental and other approval, he said. “We have been running these plants because we don’t want the people to be inconvenienced, but as you can see, we can’t keep operating power plants that do not have necessary approval. We will have to withdraw from these plants if the necessary licences are not issued by next Tuesday,” he said.

The spokesperson said that although the government had promised to solve the issues raised by the union, two of the main demands had not been fulfilled. They are granting approval to the Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) 2018-2037 and appointing ‘professionals with highest integrity and unblemished record to key posts in the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL).

(Source: The Island – By Rathindra Kuruwita)