Published on Thursday, 25 April 2013 11:53
The United National Party government in 1993 under the recommendations of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the International Development Fund handed over the generation and transmission of electricity to the private sector removing it from the government's responsibility. He said that it was due to the UNP government's erroneous policy decisions and agreements reached with private sector institutions to patronize their political cohorts it became necessary to purchase a unit of electricity between 25 to 40 rupees and sell it to the consumer at 7 rupees and 50 cents per unit.
This was stated by the Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella addressing a special media conference held at his Ministry today.
The Minister said that in the year 2005 President Mahinda Rajapaksa took a firm policy decision that generation and transmission of electricity should be carried out with the mediation of the government. It was due to this bold decision that the nation got the benefits of the Keravalapitiya thermal power plant, Norachchola coal power plant and the Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Plant.
The Minister said that the term periods of agreements for purchasing electricity from the private sector are coming to end soon and the government expects to purchase electricity at justifiable prices in the future. The revision of electricity tariff is only a temporary measure. Nearly, five million families use less than 90 units of electricity per month. The Minister said that the government still incurs a large expenditure for providing electricity to these families at concessionary rates.
The Minister said that the opposition groups are making malicious allegations about the electricity tariff revision. He said it was a collective decision taken by the government. Discussions in this regard were held for about two years. The government took action to revise the electricity tariff without thereby creating an economic crisis. It is the responsibility of the government to prevent inconveniences being caused to the public. He said that upon adding 600 megawatts to the national grid from the 2nd and 3rd stages of the Norachchola coal power plant by the end of this year the government will be able to pass on its benefit to the people.
Responding to a question about breakdowns at the Norachchola power plant the Minister said that there is no truth in the reports being published saying that the plant suffered 21 breakdowns. The Minister said that after the electricity generation by the Norachchola power plant commenced, its activities were stopped on 15 occasions and its shows that the plant is functioning properly.
The Minister also said that the government does not in any manner misuse the funds being provided by the Asian Development Bank for development projects in Sri Lanka. The funds are being properly invested for the relevant projects.. The Minister vehemently rejected the allegations being made by certain media institutions saying that these funds are being used improperly.