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 Post subject: Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has Rs 86 billion loss
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 2:52 am 
CEB in four-pronged strategy to recover Rs 86 billion loss

by Hiran H. Senewiratne
Sunday Observer

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is in the process of implementing a four-pronged strategy to recover a Rs 86 billion financial loss, sources said.

This situation arose when the CEB started generating more thermal than hydro power, due to the prolonged drought in the country, CEB Deputy Chairman L.C.R. de Silva said. The increase in petroleum costs aggravated the problem .

"The current circumstances caused heavy losses to the CEB with the increase in the country's power consumption", de Silva told the Sunday Observer Business.

He said that the CEB is losing Rs 40 million daily , which is an enormous loss to the country. Further the CEB sells power at Rs 2 less than the actual cost, which puts them in further debt, de Silva said.

He said that for many months the CEB generated thermal and hydro power to ensure continuous energy supplies to the country.The CEB along with independent power producers supply thermal power to the national grid.

The government has not revised the tariff structure on power and energy since 2002 and this has also aggravated the situation, de Silva said .

According to the CEB the strategies to be implemented to recover losses are restructuring the current debt portfolio with the assistance of Financial Managers and turning short-term debt from banks into long term debt.

Timely implementation of the proposed coal power plants at Norochcholai and Kerawalapitiya combined cycle power plant and the Upper Kotmale plant are part of the CEB's second strategy.

Since the government has completed the feasibility study of the Norochcholai power plant location at a cost of Rs 500 million, it would be the most suitable place for this purpose sources said.

The other strategies are to restructure the CEB to be more beneficial to the employees without privatising the entity.

The implementation of a tariff policy by the government is also part of the plan and will reflect the cost of power. The government will go ahead with the power sector reforms to make the CEB a viable entity.

Statistics revealed that the country's annual electricity requirement is around 1900 MW. The CEB's annual capacity is around 1450 MW and the balance will be obtained from independent power suppliers.

Sources said that some of the hydro power plants are not maintained properly because it is in operation in full capacity throughout the day.This affects the machines adversely.

A proper tracking system to avoid electricity piracy will be addressed to save power.

The CEB said that it is unlikely there would be power cuts in the future.

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