The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Engineers’ Association President Saumya Kumarawadu said yesterday that over the past 19 years, a loss of over Rs.160 billion has been incurred due to the short-term decision taken by the United National Front (UNF) in 2002 to purchase electricity from private diesel power plants at high prices to meet the country’s electricity demand.
The Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga government had to cut off power for ten to fifteen hours a day due to the severe drought that affected the country in 2001 and due to this unwise decision taken by the United National Front government which came to power on November 5, 2001, the CEB incurs a loss of around Rs. 80 billion every year.
At present a situation has arisen where the demand for electricity cannot be met without diesel power plants and the LNG liquefied natural gas power plant is also generating electricity from diesel. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has incurred a loss of Rs.62.50 billion last year due to the purchase of electricity from diesel power plants.
The 300 MW Dual Cycle (Diesel and LNG) Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya will generate electricity only using diesel. He said that although another 350 megawatt LNG power plant has been approved, it will take a long time to bring the required LNG to Sri Lanka,those power plants will also have to use diesel to generate electricity.
Several power plants that can generate electricity from diesel and LNG have been built in the country and the CEB is already purchasing over 1000 MW of electricity at exorbitant prices, he added.
At present the Board purchases electricity from privately owned diesel power plants such as the Kerawalapitiya Dual Cycle Power Plant (300 MW) located in the Kelanitissa premises (165 MW, 165 MW, 100 MW) etc. and these plants have been approved. Because they can generate electricity through LNG. However, the power plants continue to generate electricity using diesel and the companies that own the power plants make billions of rupees a year by purchasing them at exorbitant prices, he said.