Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is venturing into mini hydro power generation in a bid to save costs and boost revenue.
According to the CEB, it is entering into the mini hydro power generation sector by investing in 200 projects that have been earmarked in the country.
Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka told Daily FT yesterday that although the country’s hydro electric power generation capacity has now reached 50% capacity, the CEB was still involved in paying a heavy annual bill amounting to Rs. 1.5 billion for buying electricity from private hydro operators.
“For the first time since 2006, our hydro electric power generation is now operating at 50% capacity. Even though there is a reduction in buying electricity generated by using thermal energy, the benefit is set off due to the fact that we have to buy power from mini hydro operators. So we have looked into this aspect and decided to enter into this sector. Towards this end, we have identified 200 locations in the country and hope to commence these projects soon,” Ranawaka said.
The Minister noted that the CEB had adopted the wrong policy during the past years where it did not consider entering into the mini hydro sector and therefore neglected participating in renewable energy projects.
“It was a mistake that the CEB made for a long time by not entering into the mini hydro power generation sector and other renewable energy sectors. We are now actively engaged in entering these sectors,” he revealed. Commenting on the new measures taken by the CEB to improve on its loss-making position, the Minister said that the board had applied for ISO certification 9001 and 1400, which would be awarded soon.
“By obtaining ISO certification, we hope to introduce new managerial concepts to main operations in the board such as transmission, grid and sub stations. Under this programme we will be setting up a national call centre, enabling the general public to make their issues known so we can sort them out. By doing this we will be able to get more information on the blackouts on a national basis, thereby ensuring efficiency in every operational aspect of the CEB. We will also be able to bring down our operational cost by 10% by next year, which will be great achievement,” he added. Commenting on the rain fall in the catchment areas, Ranawaka said that the recent rain had boosted its main power generation stations to meet capacity, namely Laxapana by 58%, Randenigala by 45% and other areas by 75% to 85%.