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CEB interdicts DGM Energy Purchases for refusing to pay ACE Embilipitiya


Jul 16, 2018 (LBO) - The Deputy General Manager, Energy Purchases of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) says that the Government should not pay the 100 MW ACE Embilipitiya as it is an illegal power plant.

The state utility has extended the agreement with the privately-owned ACE Embilipitiya without a bidding procedure and without the approval of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator.

“There was a technical evaluation committee to look into the extension of the ACE Embilipitiya power plant. But it was not powerful enough to make decisions. The Management decided that it will extend the agreement of ACE Embilipitiya to purchase electricity with a discounted price of 5 percent,” Sujeewa Abeywickrama, deputy general manager - Energy Purchases of CEB said at a press conference organized by CEB’s workers union.

“ACE Embilipitiya has no approval from the PUCSL,”

“Private energy purchases from thermal power plants increases the electricity bill. Because CEB pays 25 rupees per unit for private power purchases.”

Abeywickrama was interdicted on July 2, 2018. The charges against him ranged from not carrying out assigned duties, not following directions given by the General Manager, to conducting his personal business and being an accused in several court cases.

He claims that the charge is not a criminal offence and that he is accused of is being the owner of a bus.

“The troubles started when I questioned the legality of the power purchase and refuse to authorize the payment.” Abeywickrama added.

On April 5th this year, the (CEB) signed a further extension to its Short-Term Power Purchase Agreement of March 17, 2017, with Ace Power Embilipitya (Pvt.) an Independent Power Producer (IPP) owned by Aitken Spence PLC.

The extension, according to the agreement will be in effect for a three-year period, from the date signed, unless either party terminates the agreement, or the CEB acquires the plant.

“Most of the top officers in the CEB including the engineers are big time businessmen, rogues and thieves,” Ranjan Jayalal, Secretary of the CEB’s Workers Union said.

“We want to know why CEB backdated the agreement signed,”

“Aitken Spence recorded a profit of 1.1 billion rupees through this plant when CEB is making huge losses.”

For Aitken Spence PLC, which had seen a drop-in revenue in its power generation sector, the renewal of the PPA since 2016 meant a jump in its earnings. The cumulative sector revenue increased from 4.1 billion rupees in the previous year to 16.0 billion rupees in 2016/17, with the sector recording a profit of 1.1 billion rupees in 2016/17, compared to a loss of 494.7 million rupees recorded in the previous year.

“The increase in revenue was mainly on account of the resumption of activities at the Ace Power Embilipitiya, following the renewal of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). With a full year of operation under its belt, the sector was able to achieve a complete turnaround in performance in the current financial year,"  Aitken Spence said in the Annual Report 2016/17.
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"I am happy to note the CEB has renewed the PPA for another year from April 2017.”

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