Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE -

Con­tro­versy sur­rounds Power and En­ergy Min­is­ter Ravi Karunanaya­ke’s move to award an­other 400MWS of emer­gency power to a Turk­ish com­pany, learns.

Mr. Karunanaya­ke re­cently man­aged to get Cab­i­net ap­proval to award the 300MWS Ker­awalapi­tiya Power Plant ten­der to a Chi­nese firm. The trans­ac­tion is mired in con­tro­versy and chal­lenged in a court of law by lo­cal bid­der Lakd­hanavi.

Ac­cord­ing to Lakd­hanavi, it will cost an ad­di­tional Rs.90 bil­lion to the coun­try.the bat­tle on Ker­awalapi­tiya 300MWS LNG Power Plant ten­der was fi­nally won by the Power and En­ergy Min­istry last week. The Cab­i­net gave in to Min­is­ter Karunanaya­ke who fought tooth and nail to give the pro­ject to the more ex­pen­sive Chi­nese com­pany. Lakd­hanavi’s lower cost pro­posal has fi­nally been dis­carded by the Cab­i­net. Lakd­hanavi has filed a fun­da­men­tal rights case which is pend­ing in Supreme Court.

De­spite that, there is a tug of war be­tween the min­is­ter and other Cab­i­net col­leagues to award an­other 400MWS emer­gency power to a Turk­ish com­pany of ques­tion­able rep­u­ta­tion.

In re­sponse to re­cent power cuts, the min­istry seems to have gone over­board to pro­cure emer­gency power left, right and cen­tre. Re­port­edly, the CEB’S rea­son for four-hour power cuts in March and April was a short­fall of about 300MWS power ca­pac­ity. Dry weather that pre­vailed dur­ing late March and early April has some­what eased now with the on­set of in­ter­mon­soonal rains.

The gov­ern­ment also pro­cured 171MWS of ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity by ex­tend­ing the re­tired

Power Pur­chase Agree­ments of 120MWS Ace-em­bilip­i­tiya and Matara and 51MWS Asia Power-sa­pu­gaskanda.

More­over, the Cey­lon Elec­tric­ity Board (CEB) man­aged to re­pair the fault that oc­curred in the 60MWS barge-mounted power plant in the Port of Colombo.the CEB is also plan­ning to com­mis­sion 50MW of new gen­er­a­tors it has im­ported from an In­dian sup­plier. Thus, a whop­ping 381MWS is now in the sys­tem com­pared to the peak of the dry sea­son when power cuts were im­posed.

The to­tal es­ti­mated cost of these new procuremen­ts to CEB can reach a whop­ping Rs.48 bil­lion.the CEB has re­port­edly in­curred a loss of Rs.87 bil­lion in 2018. Its losses are likely to sur­pass Rs.120 bil­lion in 2019. The CEB’S turnover is around Rs.220 bil­lion. Man­age­ment of the fi­nan­cial prob­lems of CEB will be the big­gest chal­lenge to be faced by a new gov­ern­ment next year in the wake of ex­tra, highly-ex­pen­sive emer­gency power pro­cure­ment.

In March, the CEB called of­fers for ac­qui­si­tion of fur­ther 100MWS (later amended to 200MWS to ac­com­mo­date the Turk­ish) of grid con­nected ca­pac­ity. It gave time till May 2 for these of­fers to be made.

Strangely, Power and En­ergy Min­is­ter Ravi Karunanaya­ke sub­mit­ted to the Cab­i­net of min­is­ters an of­fer made un­der this ten­der by a Turk­ish com­pany called Kar­power In­ter­na­tional DMCC to buy 400MWS of power for six months and sought ap­proval to sign a Let­ter of In­tent.the sur­pris­ing fact is that the bids are still not closed but the min­is­ter wants this of­fer ac­cepted.

The power plant is planned to be in­stalled in the Dikkowita Fish­eries Har­bour and Galle Port.the power plants are mounted on ships called ‘Pow­er­ships.’

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