Non-construction of power plants main reason for electricity crisis – Kanchana
Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that the main reason for the current electricity crisis is the non-construction of power plants as per the National Power Generation Plan after the construction of Norochcholai Coal Power Plant in 2014.
According to the National Power Generation Plan, it was planned in 2006 to construct the Sampur Coal Power Plant with a capacity of 500 MW.
An agreement in connection with the construction of the Sampur Coal Power Plant was signed with India in 2013. However, certain environmental organisations politically backed by the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna filed a case in the Supreme Court against the construction of the Sampur Coal Power Plant despite obtaining environmental reports and other approvals from all due institutions. In 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed the case since the then Government.
The stoppage of construction of the Sampur Power Plant resulted in a loss of 500 MW of electricity to the National Grid.
“The Public Utilities Commission Sri Lanka (PUCSL) should monitor the implementation of a National Power Generation Plan. The PUCSL is there, not only to notify the time of power cuts,” the Minister added.
The Minister further said that he and the President presented the method of providing continuous electricity supply to the country from January 1. Accordingly, a plan has been presented to provide twenty-four hour uninterrupted electricity supply with a revision in electricity tariffs.
He added that if there was a revision in electricity tariff by implementing the plan he implemented, it would have been possible to manage the current electricity crisis by obtaining bank loans.
Minister Wijesekara said that there was a power cut even during the Advanced Level Examination period last year. He alleged that political parties are looking to take advantage of the extended power cut by the March 9 election period.
The Minister emphasised that in order to provide a continuous electricity supply, the existing resources should be properly managed.
“However, the PUCSL has promised the Cabinet that it will inform the ‘National Assembly’ of the Parliament by February 15 on how to revise the electricity tariffs,” he said.
Anyhow he noted that delaying a solution to the electricity crisis will further intensify the crisis.
Currently, only 30 per cent of hydro power and 10 percent of renewable energy are generated in the country. The rest has to be obtained from thermal power plants and from the private sector.
The Minister said that housing units in condominiums will be charged about 50% less than the rate charged to the ordinary domestic electricity consumers on the decision taken by PUCSL.
He also emphasised that it is expected that this irregularity will be corrected in the tariff revision presented on February 15.
(Source: Daily News – By Dharma Sri Abeyratne)
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