The Employees Union of Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) said today that allegations the Commission is responsible for the delay in the implementation of power generation plans are a baseless and completely false statement.
The Union in a statement said that according to the Sri Lanka Electricity Act, the Commission is responsible for approving power generation plans and approving the calling for proposals to build power plants (Request for Proposals) and Power Purchasing Agreements. Accordingly, the Commission has given its fullest cooperation and approval to the Ceylon Electricity Board for implementing the Least Cost Long Term Generation Plans.
The statement added that the Ceylon Electricity Board has sought the approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka for three major power plants with the capacity of 300 MW during the period 2016-2020 under the Least Cost Long Term Generation Plan and the steps taken by the Commission in this regard are as follows;
01. The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant of 300 MW
The Ceylon Electricity Board submitted the request for proposal (RFP) of the above plant for the approval of the Commission 15.11.2016 and the approval was granted by the Commission on 17.11.2016 within two days. However, after a delay of four (04) years of the bidding process, the Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) has been referred to the Commission for approval on 09.10.2020. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka gave the approval on 25.11.2020 in the first meeting that was convened after submitting the PPA.
02. 300 MW Second Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Power Plant
Although the Board of Directors of the Ceylon Electricity Board had decided on 29.06.2017 to call for bids for the construction of the above-mentioned power plant which has been delayed for more than three years and which was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka under the Long-Term Generation Expansion Plan, the request for proposal (RFP) was submitted to the Commission on 18.09.2020. Accordingly, the Commission has given its approval within one month on 22.10.2020 and yet the Ceylon Electricity Board has not called for bids for the plant.
In both cases mentioned in No 1 and No 2, the approvals were granted after the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) agreed to incorporate the necessary amendments proposed by the Commission for the benefit of the country and the public.
03. Norochcholai Coal Power Plant Extension of 300 MW
According to the long-term power generation plan 2018-2037 approved by the Commission, if a 300 MW coal power plant is to be completed by 31/12/22, the approval of the Commission should be obtained by the middle of the year 2018.
However, after a delay of two years, the relevant tender has been submitted on 04.09.2020 to award the construction of this power plant to one party in a non-competitive manner.
In a letter dated 15.10.2020, the Commission requested the Ceylon Electricity Board to comply with the provisions of the Electricity Act and Procurement rules and to submit explanations/justifications in purchasing the power plant. The Ceylon Electricity Board has submitted a reply letter to the Commission on 27.10.2020. However, as the members of the Commission have not yet been appointed to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, it has not been possible to submit it to the Commission to take necessary action regarding the reply letter.
The Commission has also supervised the implementation of generation plans without being limited to approving the generation plans and approving the request for proposals (RFPs) for the same plans. The Commission has informed the Cabinet, the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy in writing that there is a delay in the construction of power plants from 2016. Based on these notifications, the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy has submitted a letter to the Ceylon Electricity Board on 15.06.2017 confirming that the reason for the delay in the construction of power plants was not a delay in approving the power plants but a delaying in calling power plants and a delay in the construction of those power plants.