Batagoda recommends emergency power purchasing

Dr. Suren Batagoda, the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and energy, who, from the end of 2014, has been making predictions of a scarcity of electricity, without credible facts to support the claim, has once again commenced making statements of a possible shortage in 2020.

Dr. Batagoda sent a letter to the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka on the 20th of the month. The Secretary to Ministry of Power and Energy did not stop by making claims of possible power shortages, he took steps to follow each of these predictions up with a proposal for emergency power purchases and took the extra step of justifying why these power purchase proposals had to be approved. All these purchases were to be done against the Electricity Act of our country.

Since several of these proposals had to be rolled back against the outcry of the PUCSL on multiple occasions, the CEB has saved close to Rs 4 billion. However the CEB had incurred losses far greater than this amount due to the various emergency power purchase agreements that had been reached, against the electricity act of Sri Lanka, as a result of Dr. Suren Batagoda and the mafia of senior officials of the CEB, who enjoy the the support of the political system as well.

The Manifesto of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says steps will be taken to abolish agreements entered into by the former government to purchase electricity at exorbitant costs. It adds that the advantages accrued out of such action will be passed on to the consumer through a reduced electricity bill.

It is clear through the letter Dr. Batagoda has sent to the chairman of the PUCSL on the 20th of November, that he has failed to read through the manifesto of the President. The letter seeks approval for three emergency power purchase agreements that have been rejected on a previous occasion by the PUCSL.

The PUCSL had rejected these emergency power purchase agreements as they are against the Electricity Act of Sri Lanka and therefore illegal. In addition to these three proposals, there are two more proposals in the letter sent by Dr. Suren Batagoda. The letter also points the finger at the PUCSL as being responsible for the power crisis in the country.

However, this same secretary on multiple previous occasions, through letters to the Chairman and the GM of the CEB, has blamed the inefficiencies and negligence at the CEB as the cause for the power crisis in Sri Lanka. It is clear that by copying this letter to the new President’s Secretary as well as the treasury secretary, Dr. Suren Batagota is attempting to create a panic in the new government with regard to a “so-called” power crisis in the country, thereby paving the way for emergency power purchases to be carried out.

Instead, what should be done is to investigate the actions of this Ministry Secretary during the past four years as he made plans to carry out emergency power purchases in the country.

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