Axing PUC Chairman
Posted on May 24th, 2023

Sugath Kulatunga

Today the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission will be axed on a resolution moved in Parliament. This will make all so called independent Commissions dependent on the whims and fancies of the subject Minister and create an ugly precedent.

Before axing the PUC Chairman the Minister should explain to the Parliament the current position on the accusation that he made against the CEB.

In introducing the Sri Lanka Electricity (amendment) bill in Parliament on 9 June 2022 Minister Kanchana Wijesekera revealed that there are renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 4000 MW where Energy Permits have been given BUT THE CEB HAS STILL NOT GRANTED POWER PURCHASE APPROVAL. He gave details of the projects pending CEB PPA as follows:

1.Hydro power of 580 MW not approved for 6 years

2 Wind Power project of 769 MW

3 Solar power projects of 2538 MW

4. Biomass 136 MW

Total of 4000MW

He also mentioned that the average cost of renewable energy is 16.90 per unit, whereas the cost of energy from thermal plants is over Rs 60. The Minster was critical of the bureaucracy in the CEB where they prefer to look for provisions in the law on how to reject a proposal than to approve it.

The position of the CEB is that there are no more prospects for major hydroelectric prospects in the country. But they do not seem to have examined the prospects of run of the river type of hydro power generation which is popular in many other countries as seen on this website which describes over seventy such projects.

It may be possible to go into run of the river projects in location where there are rapids like at Heerassagala on Mahaveli and Naragala on Kaluganga.

CEB is unlikely to be interested in such projects as it would make the diesel power stations redundant.

Sugath Kulatunga

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