Harsha lashes out at CEB chief at energy forum | Sunday Observer

Harsha lashes out at CEB chief at energy forum

Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development Dr. Harsha de Silva gave a piece of his mind to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) for being unprofessional and shying away from responsibility as a key stakeholder of the government while incurring losses running in to billion of rupees.

“How could we achieve our goal of reaching self sufficiency in energy when people run away from responsibility?

The government’s aim is to achieve self sufficiency by 2030 by moving away from imports of costly fossil fuels and relying on new energy sources,” Dr. de Silva said.

With a barrage of irate accusations the Deputy Minister unleashed his fury on the CEB particularly on its chief, primarily for failing to be present at the energy forum held in Colombo last week and secondly for not sitting at tender boards to carry out procurement for the sector at a crucial time to meet the energy needs of the country.

“The CEB has been very unprofessional by not participating in the forum. I will deal with it appropriately in time to come,” Dr. de Silva said.

The state energy supplier was lambasted right throughout the forum for its spate of losses, corruption and inefficiency.

The CEB workers were arraigned for being unproductive while enjoying high salaries.

“A meter reader is said to be paid around Rs. 100,000. I would like to check this out but there aren’t CEB officials here today at the forum,’ Dr. de Silva said.

The irate minister questioned how the country be competitive in the region if we are unable to sustain energy requirements. Its like trying to start the engine which has an empty gas tank. The government alone cannot solve the problem. All stakeholders must play a role. Responsibility cannot be passed on,” Dr. de Silva said.

Energy Consultant Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya said there is a clear case for a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminal. Planning starts with a forecast. Let us build the power plants to meet the forecast.

“Once a decision is made to build a power plant we must go for it because it’s a billion dollar decision. Sampur was planned three years ago but it has gone no where,” Dr. Siyambalapitiya said. Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Director General Damitha Kumarasinghe said that the PUCSL’s plan must be implemented to address the short, mid and long term energy need of the country.

“Factors such as dry weather, technical and geographical accessibility, acceptability issues, terrorism, cyber attacks and climatic issues are threats to achieve energy security,” Kumarasinghe said.