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Mixed generation plan to meet power shortage soon – Ravi

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A mixed generation plan that uses both thermal and renewable energy will be implemented to meet the growing electricity demand, Power & Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament today.

Responding to a question by United National Party (UNP) MP Thushara Idunil Amarasena, the Minister said that there is a misconception about renewable energy, adding that there is a need for a stable generation program in the country.

The proposed mixed generation system, he said, will fulfill this need.

Meanwhile, an “honest programme” will be implemented to solve the salary anomalies in the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), said Karunanayake. This will be introduced before August 30.

The Government has made no policy decision to privatise the crisis-ridden CEB, he further said, but noted that the state enterprise’s power generation costs over the last two years were very high due to dry weather conditions leading to a reduced supply of hydro-power to the national grid.

“Hydropower contributed only 21% and 33% to the national grid in 2017 and 2018 respectively,” he added.

Generation costs went up as thermal power plants were used to supply constantly to the national grid, so the average generation cost per unit went up to Rs. 19.12, said the Minister, adding that this was excluding the distribution and transmission cost per unit which amounts to Rs. 3.50.

Karunanayake further said that in order to reduce the cost, the low-cost generation project was launched and, since 2015, competitive prices were called to build wind and solar power plants which could reduce the cost by 50%.

“Though the CEB has taken these steps, no generation had happened by applying them practically,” he said.

The Minister went on to say that recommendations made by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) about electricity charges are unfair as they had charged excessively in certain areas.