The power outage that is presently prevailing in the country has inconvenienced the public at large.
The power-cut adversity occurred this year for the first time in the second week of March with the announcement of the breakdown of second generator of the Norochcholai coal power plant. However, even after the fault in the generator was rectified and the operation of the coal power plant returned to normalcy, to the amazement of the public, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) announced the likelihood of intermittent disruptions of power supply. Moreover, in certain areas, the power supply was disrupted sporadically with no prior official notice. This caused massive inconveniences to the consumers of electricity including the shopkeepers and households.
Although CEB promptly resolved to administer power cuts across the island, Minister of Power, Energy and Business Development Ravi Karunanayeke kept on assuring that the power cuts would be the last resort and it is unlikely, as the capacity of electricity generation is sufficient to cater to the power requirement of the consumers. Nonetheless, in a very short span of time of Minister’s assurance that the power cuts are evitable, CEB implemented intermittent power cuts. Many exclaimed as to why the CEB has to exercise power-cuts when the Norochcholai power plant is fully operational. When a hullabaloo was created in the country, with regard to the power-cuts, the authorities informed the public that the power outages are inevitable due to the drastic drop in hydropower generation which was attributed to the prevailing spell of heat weather.
When the Minister Karunanayake was confident that power cuts would not be administered, it is doubtful as to why the authorities wanted to create a crisis situation in the country by implementing power cuts.
It is also known that private electricity suppliers sell electricity at exorbitant rates than the true value of electricity units when there is a shortage of electricity in the country and it has snowballed into a mafia at present.
It is conspicuous that an artificial shortage of power generation has been created in the country to facilitate the purchase of electricity from the private suppliers, which enable certain high profile officials in the respective fields to pocket colossal monies.
The annual increase of the demand of power is 150 MW and to fulfill this requirement, Sri Lanka should set up new power plants to produce 500 MW in every 2 -4 years in addition to the existing hydropower, wind power and Norochcholai power plants. The estimated capacity of the Kerawalapitiya power plant which was planned to be set up in 2017 and was scrapped, is about 300 MW.
Further, Sri Lanka does not have any feasible plan for a power crisis that would occur in future. It is forewarned that there will be a shortage of power generation in 2020 too and the country is not prepared to successfully get over it.
Establishment of new power plants is the solution to electricity crisis in the country, not the purchase of power at exorbitant rates from the private electricity generators.
Besides, the respective officials including the engineers at the CEB are entrusted to ensure the proper and regular functioning of the electricity system of the country and for that, they are paid thumping amount of salaries and other icings on the cake. In that case, one cannot but the raise the question as to why have they been unable to provide a satisfactory solution to prevent the inconvenient power-cuts and to come up with a plan to fulfill the future power requirements?
President Maithripala Sirisena recently stated unambiguously that electricity mafia exists in the country. He slammed some top brass in the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) stating that they do not want to end the prevailing electricity crisis in the country to serve their selfish purposes. President also revealed that their palms are greased by the private electricity generators to create an artificial electricity crisis.
It is high time that the state owned power plants are set up to prevent electricity crisis. Moreover, necessary actions should immediately be taken to end the electricity mafia and to chastise those who are involved in it by greatly distressing the public.