Committee probing island-wide power outage says maintenance procedures not followed
Posted on August 28th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The committee studying the recent island-wide power outage has stated in its Interim Report, that no proper maintenance procedures had been followed in the routine maintenance task that resulted in the breakdown.

It has recommended that a more detailed set of protocols be introduced when dealing with such high-risk procedures.

Members of the committee, holding a media briefing today (28) on its conclusions in the interim report, said they expect to submit a more detailed report.

However, that will take some time. But we have promised the minister that a detailed report will be submitted,” Secretary to the Ministry of Energy, Mr. K.H.D.K. Samarakoon said during the media briefing.

Professor Rahula Athalage meanwhile said, in parts 1 and 2 of the report of the committee’s conclusions, they have clearly noted that this incident occurred during routine maintenance.

Further, we have also stated that there is a set of protocols that must be followed when handling a high-risk task such as this in conventional, nuclear and chemical plants. The committee has not been able to uncover any evidence to determine if such protocols exist to be followed,” he added.

Responding to a question, General Manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) G.G. Aluthge said, The CEB has a set of maintenance procedures that include procedures detailing things such as which switches must be turned off and which ones must be turned on and such. However, it is very clear that those procedures were not followed. This is why the committee recommends that a better set of protocols must be introduced.”

The Media Secretary of the Ministry of Energy Sulakshana Jayawardena, speaking on the officer responsible for the incident, said the CEB has a disciplinary code, hence, there is a possibility of disciplinary action being taken against him.

The initial disciplinary inquiry will be concluded within three months,” he said noting that there is a process where the Head of the institution can decide if there is a need to suspend an employee based on recommendations.

The CEB General Manager, speaking further, stated that it was the employee himself who informed the system control that such a mistake was made by him. At that time, he was not aware that the entire country was without power. So he informed the system control that he had made a mistake and that power was down at the Kerawalapitiya Station. The Electrical Superintendent was brought before the committee and we spoke to him. He admitted at the time that such a mistake happened under his watch and that is its something that should not have happened.”

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