(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Trade Unions including the CEB Engineers’ Union have decided to temporarily suspend their strike action following discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last night.
The Ceylon Electricity Board trade unions yesterday announced that they will go on a strike from midnight Wednesday (08) based on four demands mainly to protest the proposed amendments to the Sri Lanka Electricity Act.
The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union has demanded to withdraw proposed amendments to the Sri Lanka Electricity Act No. 20 of 2009 (as amended by the Act No. 31 of 2013), gazetted on April 29, 2022, with immediate effect.
The CEB Engineers’ Union has vehemently opposed the amendments proposed by Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera.
Both Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera urged the unions not to engage in disruptive trade union action as all the people of the country are living in challenging times.
In a letter to the General Manager of the Electricity Board, they said the passage of the amendments will provide an opportunity to award power generation projects outside of the competitive tender process.
They point out that this violates the policy of low cost power generation which provides relief to the people.
However, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera in parliament yesterday assured that the amendments to the Sri Lanka Electricity Act will not entirely abolish the competitive bidding process for procurement of electricity.
The Minister accused the CEB of not supporting renewable energy generation plans which would reduce the cost of electricity generation and provide low cost energy to the consumers.
He said the proposed amendments would expedite the projects that are approved by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority.
The Minister said this amendment was in the making since 2013, and a certain group in the Ceylon Electricity Board are opposed to these amendments, as they appear for the Diesel Power Plants and are against the implementation of renewable energy projects.
In view of the impending power crisis, President Rajapaksa yesterday declared the provision of electricity supply an essential service with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the power supply in many parts of the island including Colombo, Moratuwa, Boralesgamuwa and Kegalle has been disrupted since around 4:00 am today.
It is reported that it will take several hours to restore power supply in the areas where the power supply was cut off.