Ceylon Today learns from reliable sources that some Rs.116 billion have so far been used in the year 2013 by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) for the purchase of power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) of the private sector.
Citing CEB claims of its total estimated expenditure for 2013 being Rs.256 billion, our source said, "Out of that money, some 80%, or Rs.205 billion, will be spent on power generation and purchase. So far, Rs.116 billion of that money has been spent on IPPs."
However, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has only approved an estimated expenditure of Rs.228 billion for this year.
Citing the West Coast Kerevalapitiya Power Plant and its frequent inactivity in the recent past, our source further alleged that 'the private sector only stood to benefit from such inactivity.'
"This plant hardly makes use of its combined cycle mechanism to produce electricity, which would be cheaper. By not doing so, this IPP can make the same amount of money via capacity charges as before, with no effort towards producing electricity," he said. A capacity charge is the sum paid by the CEB to an IPP as per the agreement between them, whether or not power purchases are made by the CEB.
CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance committee member Ranjan Jayalal, commenting in the matter of power purchase from IPPs said, "Even after the Central Bank Report of 2007 has been published, which clearly shows the deficiencies of the agreements between these IPPs and the CEB, there have been more agreements signed in the years 2008 and 2009."