The Sunday Leader

CEB Calls For Bids For A 50KW Solar Power System

by Ifham Nizam 

  • Currently there is a requirement of at least a 150 MW new plant to be added to the national grid annually
  • Despite such an increase in demand the CEB is yet to plan the construction of new plants
  • Delays in the construction of CEB owned plants have paved the way towards promoting private thermal plants

Invitation of bids and Results of Generation Expansion Planing Studies 2005

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), a state owned utility has called for bids to supply, install and commission  a 50KW Solar power system at distribution division three headquarters building located at Etul Kotte, while experts point out that the absolute failure of some engineers in the CEB for not being able to use their knowledge and skills to fix it by themselves and calls  the private sector to fix it with poor tax payers money.

This is the same CEB that talks about 300 MW – 500 MW bigger power plants in Sri Lanka which employs more than 1200 engineers.

Currently there is a requirement of at least a 150 MW new plant to be added to the national grid annually. Despite such an increase in demand the CEB is yet to plan the construction of new plants.

This comes to a serious question of “whether the CEB is a name board state organisation where engineers are just there to call bids and give away all the hard work to the private sector by using public money.”

At the same time, the CEB is on the track for preparing the Long Term Generation Expansion Plan 2017-2035. However,  the big question is “Where is the implementation plan of the earlier Long Term Generation Expansion Plan since 2005?”

According to the 2005 long term plan the  Sampur coal power plant should have been commissioned by early 2016. If it was operational by that time no party could go before the courts against it.However,  the delay in construction resulted in objections to it.

Instead of building the new plants proposed, the  CEB  is planning another generation expansion plan.

With all that in the hot plate, President Maithripala Sirisena held a discussion with a group of members of the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU), regarding future plans which aimed at the development of the field of energy while protecting the environment and boosting the economy, at the Presidential Secretariat.

Planning, implementation, follow-up and review is necessary for Sri Lanka’s Electricity Generation as the demand for electricity keeps increasing and especially the utility is state owned and financed through poor tax payers money. After the completion of the first coal fired power plant in Norochcholai  in 2009 no single large plant has been constructed by the CEB except the private thermal plants.

Sri Lanka’s electricity sector has failed in implementing and adhering to its own plan which has led the country to an energy crisis in a  serious drought condition like the one we are facing now. Sri Lanka would have ideally sailed through this crisis, if the plans of the past have been implemented timely rather than purchasing power from the private sector using public money.

Delays in the construction of CEB owned plants have paved the way towards promoting private thermal plants. Currently private plants like Colombo Barge, Asia Power, Ace Ambilipitiya, Ace Kelanitissa, West Coast, make a larger supply to national grid at a comparatively higher cost. It is understood that the CEB is negotiating with Heladhanvi and other private thermal plant to purchase electricity on an emergency basis. Questions arise as to who is delaying the construction of the CEB’s own plants and is buying electricity from private thermal plants.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) recorded an operating profit of 20.1 billion in 2015 after years of colossal losses to the  country,  an expert told The Sunday Leader.

The CEB purchases power from private thermal plants annually to match the growing demand of electricity. However, these purchases are made without providing a proper mechanism and procedure.

The Sunday Leader learns  that the CEB purchased power from Asia Power at a unit cost of 27 rupees, ACE Kalanitissa at a unit cost of 22 rupees per unit, ACE Abilipitiya at a per unit cost of 21 rupees and West Coast at a per unit cost of 26 rupees.

Adding to that a monthly fixed charge should be paid with or without purchasing power from these plants. The plants are paid a start up charge and a shut down charge whenever  the CEB decides to get power from the plants.

The power generation cost for the year 2017 is 187 billion rupees which includes the cost of thermal plants operated by the CEB, the Hydro plant operated by the CEB, Private Thermal plants and renewable energy.

Also with Sri Lanka’s critical energy situation, emergency power purchases also have been made whenever it is necessary to assure a continuous electricity supply to the nation.

However,  the poor tax payers money is being used by the state owned monopoly CEB to purchase power in arbitrary and ad- hoc basis which will lead to corruption and losses.

Accordingly between 80 and 90 billion were annually paid to private power plants to purchase power and the government is unable to trace or audit these purchases since there are no proper guidelines or standards that have been made or followed by the  CEB in making these purchases.

Meanwhile,  the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator is also turning a blind eye on these matters without ensuring energy is purchased at a lower cost.

1 Comment for “CEB Calls For Bids For A 50KW Solar Power System”

  1. Eng.M.V.R.Perera

    the CEB engineers are planning for BOT coal power projects and the government wants high cost Solar which is a economical disaster and as such we the people are given one of the highest cost electricity in the world and taking the mater up in our courts is economic disaster for the person doing so

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