He said this at a media briefing held at the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency, regarding the possible measures needed to be taken to avert such a calamity.
He revealed that under the current situation, the government has to incur heavy expenditure for the purchase of electricity.
Accordingly, the government purchases 60 MW of power from four fuel power stations of Aggreko, and the CEB has made arrangements to purchase 76.4 GWH of power from this company between April to September this year. The expenditure incurred per unit of power has been calculated at Rs. 40.48 per kilowatt hour, he said.
However, even if power is purchased from them during emergency situations or not, the government has to pay this company Rs. 210 million per month as capital expenditure. Abeygunawardana pointed out that eventually this loss too falls on the shoulders of the consumer.
Need for a long term power generation plant
Further stating that the 5% annual increase in power demand only adds to the burden, he pointed out the urgent need for the establishment of a long term power generation facility. He said until a new power plant is established, this situation will only worsen while it will be a time of rejoicing for the fuel power generation mafia and a time of great hardships for the consumer.
Pointing out that the only viable short and long term solutions available to overcome this crisis is opting for renewable energy, power management and the intermediate solution of establishing a bio gas power plant, but added that the CEB has been repeatedly rejecting these proposals.
He revealed that the reason behind it was the high handed actions of a CEB Additional Coordinator. Abeygunawardana charged that this coordinator was rejecting all renewable energy proposals on baseless arguments and denying the government’s assistance and approval and is only intent of continuously purchasing power from private fuel power generation facilities at high cost and expects to fulfil the entire power demand through the private power suppliers.
He accused the CEB of not accepting the reality and safeguarding the country from this predicament having been proved to the government that the arguments of the Additional Coordinator was wrong, based on the advice of the Sri Lanka Public Utility Commission.
Solar revolution, answer to the crisis
Adding his views to this discussion, Colombo University lecturer, Dr. Thusitha Sugathapala explained the best and most effective solutions that can be taken under these circumstances is better power preservation and management.
Special emphasis was placed on solar power generation, during this discussion.
Under the Solar Power initiative, it is expected to establish one million solar power roofs by 2020. He pointed out the urgent need of exempting taxes on inverter and other materials needed for this project.