CEB makes contentious payment to private party
Posted on July 20th, 2018

NIRANJALA ARIYAWANSHA Courtesy Ceylon Today

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has gone ahead with the contentious payment of Rs850 million, to the privately-owned Ace Power Embilipitiya 100 MW diesel power plant, on instructions received from the relevant ministry, senior officials told Ceylon Today.

Earlier this month the CEB interdicted Deputy General Manager (DGM) (Power Purchase) Eng. Sujeewa Abeywickrema for not making the payment, among other charges, as he held that the Board had no legal right to do so.

On Wednesday the payment was made after Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Dr. Suren Batagoda gave conditional approval for the sum to be transferred, media spokesman of the Ministry Sulakshana Jayawardene said yesterday.

Secretary Batagoda had responded to a letter sent to him by the General Manager of the CEB A. K. Samarasinghe who argued that a resolution to the issue was needed as there was a danger of load-shedding in the Southern part of the country if the ACE plant was not brought on line.

According to regulations, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) needs to approve all contracts with private power suppliers. Permission in the form of a ‘No Objection Certificate’ had not been obtained by the CEB before the payment, which had prompted the former DGM Abeywickreme to hold back the money.

CEB sources said that Abeywickreme’s successor had also refused to approve of the payment. Thereafter, the payment of the sum had been undertaken by an accountant of the CEB after placing a minute which noted that the payment had been carried out on the advice of the Ministry Secretary.

Batagoda had also advised the CEB to provide a strong justification for the decision to bring the privately owned power plant on stream against normal procedure to the PUCSL. The purchasing of power from private providers has been approved by Cabinet only in an emergency.  Due to the failure to pay the amount demanded by the private party, Ace Power Embilipitiya plant had suspended its operations since 16 July.

The Director (licensing) of PUCSL Nalin Edirisinghe said that approval to the said agreement cannot be given as its contents were not in keeping with provisions in the Sri Lanka Electricity Act No 20 of 2009 No 9 and No 43 Sections.

Based on the aforementioned Act, if a certain plant wishes to purchase electricity, certain share percentages of that firm must be vested with the State. Ace Power Embilipitiya is a private plant. Based on Section 43 of the said Act, the CEB must carry out an open tender process ahead of purchasing power. This agreement has been signed without carrying out such a tender procedure,” said Edirisinghe.

Eng. Abeywickrema claimed that CEB Chairman P.W Ganegala had interdicted him since the first week of this month, due to his refusal to approve the said amount to the private plant.

But, the GM, dismissing that charge, insisted that the reason for Eng. Abeywickrema’s interdiction had been the violation of rules and regulations of the National Transport Commission of Sri Lanka.

2 Responses to “CEB makes contentious payment to private party”

  1. Christie Says:

    Where is Hon. Chandrika Dias Bandaranayake-Kumaranathunga the former President?

  2. Nimal Says:

    How about paying for my excess solar power generated?CEB put numerous obstacles.

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