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Sri Lanka’s CEB threaten TU action, Says not liable for inconvenience to public


Apr 17, 2018 (LBO) - Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU), of the state owned electricity supplier Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is to take a trade union action from 20th April against its regulator Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka demanding the approval CEB’s power generation plan. The regulator amended and approved the power generation plan in July 2017 after having wider stakeholder consultation. The amended plan has replaced the coal power plants which were initially proposed by the CEB engineers with more liquid natural gas and renewable energy-based plants. Writing to the Power and Renewable Minister Ranjith Siyabalapitiya, the engineers says that its members will not be liable for any failure or inconvenience caused to the public as this action has been taken after giving enough and more time and also taken to avoid a future calamity in the power sector of even greater proportion. The Union has even said that they will not be available for “On Call” duty no matter how urgent the situation requiring their intervention is. The trade union, which include the top management of the CEB added that its members would not sit on the tender boards, technical evaluation committees, joint working groups, project groups and special assignments. The regulator has raised its concern over implementation of the approved generation plan to avoid an energy crisis in coming years. In a separate news letter communicated among the members, CEBEU asked all members to give their fullest cooperation in this juncture by complying with "work to rule and non-cooperation" campaign fully. All area representatives are also requested to coordinate with all members in your unit/branch/division to ensure strict compliance to the "work to rule and non-cooperation" campaign by them. However, even though the engineers claim that the trade union action is to get the approval for the power generation plan, both the PUCSL Act No.35 of 2002 and the Electricity Act No. 20 of 2009 gives the mandate to PUCSL to regulate and promote the efficient allocation of resources while ensuring continuity of electricity supply island wide. In a recent report, PUCSL said the poor tax payer had incurred 50.8 billion rupees by CEB’s actions of not implementing the power generation plan and since then incurring 3.43 billion rupees per month. The only major difference of PUCSL approved plan and the CEB’s submission is the Coal power and the public and environment groups has majorly criticized building of another coal power plant in Sri Lanka where the Government gave policy direction to cancel the earlier proposed Sampur Coal Power Generation Plant. The 900 MW Norochcholai Coal power plant is also facing legal issues with regard to its environment impact to the nature and to the communities lives near the plant, where the regulator was asked to intervene by the Supreme Court. The unit 1 of Norochcholai was asked to shut down by the North Western Provincial Environment Authority due to its release of fly ash to the environment recently.  
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