The country is losing billions of rupees by using the wrong fuel to generate power. Adding to the losses is the ongoing wastage in certain power plants. The government has also rushed to finalise the new expensive auto diesel-guzzling Kerawalapitiya project.
The CEB engineers are blaming politicians and certain key officials for the alarming state of the power sector and mounting financial losses. Already CEB is suffering a daily loss of Rs. 55 million.
`The Government is quick to probe certain misconducts of employees but they turn a blind eye on the loss of billions in rupees in public money on bad management of the power generation policy,` CEB employees said.
The latest disaster in the making is the 300 MW plant at Kerawalapitiya which will be concluded by this week. There is a hurry to complete this project partly due to the pressure applied by donors and misguiding by certain officials. However, this move is contrary to a Cabinet decision to use the cheaper Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) as a source of energy from the inception.
`Even the oil rich Saudi Arabia is reducing reliance on expensive auto diesel power plants.
In the US, they are even opting for coal power and LNG as opposed to thermal plants. But Sri Lanka, though poor and struggling with financial crisis and mounting debt, is going for expensive source,` they pointed out.
For example the cost of producing a KiloWat of power using auto diesel is Rs. 21 whereas if LNG is used it is Rs. 10 and with Coal it is Rs. 7. The rush to start the Kerawalapitiya power plant, initially using auto diesel, will result in a loss of Rs. 11 per KW or a staggering Rs. 22 billion per annum when compared to the cheaper and profitable LNG energy source.
CEB Union President J. Meegoda said that the change to cheaper sources of power generation was critically essential if the CEB, the country and the people were to be saved from a severe financial crisis and the repercussions of future debts. In that context he urged for immediate commencement of the Coal power plant, the Upper Kothmale project as well as LNG projects.
Probably reflecting on the sad state of affairs, he also lamented over the Government not heeding the advise of CEB engineers, whose expertise is readily made use of in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
Apart from the extensive use of expensive fuel to generate electricity, there are also plants which don`t produce maximum power due to wrong decisions being made. Sources cited that the auto diesel 115 MW Kelanitissa power plant, which is an open and not a combined cycle facility, was discharging heated energy amounting to over 50 MW to the atmosphere. Here too the loss is running in to billions of rupees and there is no saving.