17 October, 2017

A Simple Solution To Ease The Power Crisis In Sri Lanka

By Muhammed Fazl

Muhammed Fazl

Muhammed Fazl

With the much hyped Norochcholai Coal Power Plant breaking down for the 26th time, the hapless public pray to rain gods on a regular basis yielding very little results. And with corruption being rife and mismanagement being the order of the day at the Ministry of Power and at CEB, it need not be rocket science to figure out the two options of overcoming the power crisis that threatens our lifestyle and the development of the country.

Firstly, power generation has to be increased either with coal, thermal, nuclear, hydro, renewable, windmill or solar technology. But it needs to be sustainable and cost effective. Secondly, energy must be saved. It would be unfair if we lay 100% blame on the authorities when constantly changing market forces, nature and the war which just ended taking a huge toll on our country. I believe we as citizens need to contribute our share as well in developing this isle of ours.

In the backdrop of high level discussions and short sighted projects, no practical or cost effective solution to meet the ever rising demand for power consumption seems to be in sight either. So I thought it is about time I share my two cents worth, hoping a concerned individual or a concerned authority would take serious notice and improvise on a simple idea. I am no economist or an electric engineer, but I believe this baby step of introducing this simple energy saving method would be the need of the hour.

Wrinkle-free clothing

Sri Lanka with a student population of 4.2 million and an employed labor force of 8 million could play a vital role in reducing the cost of power generation. Please take note of the following as approx. figures.

STATUS-QUO

School going students

Total no. of school students    – 4,200,000
No. of students who irons their uniform for school    – 3,500,000
Median wattage of the electric iron (800w – 1800w)    – 1300 watts
Time taken to complete the ironing task (if not distracted by TV)    – 10 minutes
No. of school days per year    – 180 days

Total power usage per year (3.5 mil * 1.3kw * 1/6 hour * 180 days)    -136,000 MW

Employed Labor Force

Total no. of employed workforce     – 8,000,000
No. of workers who irons their clothes for work     – 1,500,000
Median wattage of the electric iron (800w – 1800w)    – 1300 watts
Time taken to complete the ironing task (if not distracted by TV)    – 10 minutes
No. of working days per year      – 250 days

Total power usage per year (1.5 mil * 1.3kw * 1/6 hour * 250 days)     – 81,000 MW

SOLUTION

Providing wrinkle-free clothes as uniforms for school students as against cotton or any other material that needs ironing and relaxation of the rule of formal attire (clothing that needs ironing) for office workers on Fridays (at least), would bring about,

Savings of power per year,

136,000 MW + 16,000 MW (1/5th of 81,000 – taking in account Fridays only) –  152,000 MW
Cost of power generation to the CEB
(152,000,000 KW * Rs. 23/-)     – Rs. 3,500,000,000/-

Savings by CEB when NOT giving it to consumers at subsidized Rate –

{Rs. 3,500,000,000 – (152,000,000 KW * Rs, 15.45/-)}     – Rs. 1,150,000,000/-

CENTS AND SENSIBILITY

Having lived in the US and being exposed to fewer bureaucratic ways of governance, it is about time the authorities in SL starts having an out-of-the-box approach in crisis management. By introducing wrinkle-free clothes as an energy saving option, it is important to select the best suitable material that would suit our climate, be durable, cost effective and practical. A number of fabrics don’t need ironing, like Nylon, Polyester (especially the moisture management technology fabriques), Lycra, Rayon, Acrylic, Aramid fibre, Spandex, Goretex, Tyvek, Milk fibre cloth, Ingeo, and Lurex etc. Some cotton blends are also wrinkle free, but only because another synthetic fiber has been added to the natural cotton fiber to make them wrinkle free. My choice would be 100% Polyester with a mixture of Spandex (like the ones found in NIKE stores). It is very comforting to the skin as well and it can double as sports attire during and after school hours. But I leave it to the experts and textile technologists.

As for the casual clothing for office workers on Fridays, I would suggest jeans and T shirts where no ironing is needed. I am also yet to understand the wisdom behind the age-old practice of forcing students in some schools to wear neck-ties and women wearing suits as uniforms in companies in this warm climatic country of ours. Let us break free from inept traditions and instead give importance to contents that which is being taught in schools and productivity at work places. Addressing the power crisis that we are faced with today should be far more serious than sticking to ‘traditions’ of students and employees being forced to wear uncomfortable, time consuming and high maintenance attire!

In a world where time is money, let us also not forget the valuable time saved especially during the busy mornings when no time is wasted standing behind tables worrying about plaits (pleats) and creases!

*The writer is an independent political/social activist and can be contacted at muhammedfazl@msn.com

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Latest comments

  • 3
    2

    Wear Amudai and bikini. We can save much more!

    • 4
      2

      Excellent Muhhammed… The message I see you are trying to pass is to an appeal to general public to think, and there so many simple and easier ways general public can help move the country forward… This is to get the people out of mindset that it is always leader are the ones who can take you to the prosperity or it is the leaders who take you down to hell… What are your responsibilities???? … I think this is essence of the success of western societies..
      As Modi said, general public should not only be represented in the leadership (parliament), general public should participate… Good on you mate!!!

      • 3
        0

        Muhammed Fazl,

        You are a great creative thinker and innovator, Sri Lanka needs people like you in all fields including politics.

        Keep up your good work.

        • 1
          0

          Thiru – We all are… it is just that I write about it.

          :)

        • 1
          0

          Many schools in Europe have a chosen print for frocks for primary school girls and dark colour of choice(eg dark blue, dark green, etc) for their skirts and light colour or a chosen print for blouses for secondary school girls and black trousers and a light colour or chosen check for shirts for the boys.

          So if we adopt same, we can cut down on the whitener(chemical polluting environment) and a lot of ironing. Also it cuts down on the extra work and the agony of parents in meeting the costs of ironing.

          Wrinkle-free is probably unsuitable for hot weather all-day wearing.

          Environmentalists and teachers for Sustainable Development should give a thought to it.

      • 0
        0

        AVB – You are right. The success or the failures of a country need to be shared by its people. Nationalistic rhetorics and waving of the national flags does not suffice when we spit and throw garbage on the streets, waste water, pollute the air, bribe government officials etc… Our attitudes need to change as well.

  • 2
    10

    This is a supporter of Islamic extremism.

    Govt. should be foolish to listen to him!

  • 3
    4

    Are the Diaspora, the Intelligentsia, the LTTE proxies,TNA, Vellalas,the Christian UNP Faction and their supporters and cheer squads here interested in Kilo Watts and Mega Watts?.

    Do they care about Energy Consumption and Development?.

    Shouldn’t you be writing about hot topics like a freedom Charter for NGOs.

    How to stir up the inhabitants to support Norwegian Gnanissara to attack Allah supporters?.

    Wasn’t Noroncholai built with Renminbi?. So how can it be good….

  • 5
    2

    .
    In US, girls and boys wear shorts and a piece of top (just to cover the nipples) as well. This will further reduce cost of washing and ironing.

    :-)

  • 4
    1

    Muhammed Fazl,

    Good thinking.

    Better still if our buffoons in Sri Lanka will go back to our traditional dress, the ‘Amude’. Less cloth and no ironing compared to the shamelessly adopted western suit, jeans or the ariya sinhala suit of indeterminate origin.

    Our ladies can go back to our cultural heritage of a skimpy loin cloth only – just like the Sigiriya maidens. Besides being a tonic to sore eyes, will also mean less cloth (1 meter compared to the 6 meter Indian Saree that we have shamelessly adopted) and almost no ironing.

    • 1
      4

      “Our ladies can go back to our cultural heritage of a skimpy loin cloth only”

      ULLAM will opps and say Haram

      • 4
        0

        Bebon wakes up wrong side of the bed day in and day out !

        BBS Rep is talking about culture of majority community, Ulama has nothing to do with what majority community wears. It’s your problem.

        Haram or Halal does not come in to play if you are not a muslim. for that you have to become a muslim.

        Basically the problem with Babon is his inability to think rationally. When you start accepting right and wrong you will see things in a different perspective.

  • 3
    1

    Excellent proposal if our corrupt politicians and the UN-educated Ministers of Education can implement the wrinkle free uniforms for students. Western countries do many things to save energy, but in our motherland most our technocrats adhere to the old methods.

    In most Australian Schools student wear a Tie only when it is necessary during winter months, but otherwise they wear open neck shirts to school, as it is good for the weather and to keep students free from perspiration .

    Norocholai Power Plant negotiated by President Rajapaksa is a very good example for the GOSL to follow the strict procurement methods to procure mega projects without allowing Chinese to create havoc as Rajapaksa Regime is hard press to get a very big commission.

  • 2
    1

    ””Having lived in the US and being exposed to fewer bureaucratic ways of governance,”” well, if we dispense with this tosh, and the wacky calculation about power consumption, we can get down to business and say YES to informal but smart clothes for school and office wear – and YES get rid of school children wearing those stifling ties totally unsuited to our conditions. Let us go another step forward and ensure that ALL our school children also have proper footwear.

  • 2
    1

    Fazl Muhammad

    Some excellent ideas .Do you think though , that people would willingly agree to do away with ‘ traditional ‘ clothing ?

  • 2
    1

    Luckily, this gentleman is not in charge of teaching economics – but, unlike some economists, he can even do elementary arithmetic.

    Anyway, why doesn’t he consider even simpler solutions?

    (i)Follow our own village traditions and get every one to wear an Amude.
    There is not a problem about wrinkles. It is the cheapest clothing possible. You are not hot; you are fully ventilated. You can even enter the holiest precincts of a Hindu Kovil in that attire. Buddhist temples will allow them in as long as they don’t wear shoes or slippers.

    (ii)following Islamic traditions, get every one to wear a Burka so that you don’t see anything or any part of the body except two slits. And it doesn’t even matter if it is wrinkled or not.

    This is a better solution than the Amude because it will also support the garment industry. When people are fully covered and also grow a beard, they don’t waste energy to shave, put strong lights in front of the mirror to see the face clearly etc. In fact as a proper Muslim this gentleman should grow his beard, and wear a head dress, and also a long white Muslim habit that covers most of the body. Men don’t wear Burkas, but they could. In any case, once you are in a Burka, no body knows what your sex is – you might even be a little camel (or is it a cunning way to bring a pig home to make some bacon on the sly?).

    (iii)Or, get every one to use coconut-shell charcoal, or wood coals in their irons like in the Old days.

  • 1
    1

    Thoughts seems good but in practice???????

  • 1
    0

    I am holding in my hands two electricity bills for the same household.
    The bill from 14 May to 12 June is for 88 units and priced at Rs 1110.
    The bill from 14 June to 11 July is for 98 units and priced at Rs 2022.
    (The meter readers do a minor adjustment to make the period always equivalent to one month)

    How is this possible? Has the CEB surreptiously reintroduced the scheme by which, if you pass certain points (say 90 is one) the WHOLE bill (all 98 units) and not just the incremental amount (8 units) is charged at a higher rate ?

    Can ayone please clarify what the new triff structure is? requests to the CEB go ananswered.

  • 2
    0

    “Having lived in the US and being exposed to fewer bureaucratic ways of governance, it is about time the authorities in SL starts having an out-of-the-box approach in crisis management”

    “Having lived in the US” GR should be able to have “an out-of-the-box approach in crisis management”, instead of creating more environmental disasters in a Developing Country like SL.

  • 1
    0

    “A Simple Solution To Ease The Power Crisis In Sri Lanka”

    by stopping children wearing cotton shirts you can turn around CEB.
    common. stop bul$hitting…

    What we need is a good CEO and a good CTO (chief technical officer) a good CFO (chief financial officer) for CEB and make it independent from politicians.

    Look at the difference between CEB and Dialog, Etisalat etc.

  • 4
    4

    To:Muhammed Fazl –

    Your article is very funny & your useless concept will generate more problem after another..
    Just for your information.. Ordinary people spend more on phone bill than to electricity per month. But compare to rental on both telephone and Electricity, Electricity is more worth to spend as much of people use telephone for useless communications.
    To overcome energy crises in Sri Lanka what you suggested is not the way as other than cotton uniforms another materials will make very uncomforting for school children.
    We have to change Commercial and housing infrastructure changes to get optimum benefit of sunlight to avoid day time use of bulbs
    If you see new apple HQ building designing in CA, you will get an idea
    Since Sri Lanka hot country we need use AC in office places but we don’t use material which are efficient enough to keep the temperature down.
    Solar and wind are the most suitable energy sources for Sri lanka, if the solar panel fix in roof tops and sold back energy generated to CEB or Store to use in night time will make better change
    Still most of home appliances are energy hungry, replacement to energy efficient will make better change

    Please see below video , how people think ..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_W8X0RhOp4

  • 2
    1

    Food for thought. At least, this time the seemingly hot-headed Fazl has turned away from controversy and virulent calls for turning the rivers red with the blood of martyrs (Hic, martyrs in Sri Lanka? Plenty of boot-lickers, though; Wait, yes we have martyrs. Those who run for the hills saying ONNA KOTIYO ENAWA.) Social activism has different shades and this is the other side of Fazl’s mindset. A welcome change.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Amir,

      :)

      Not being hot-headed, I am no journo or academic… Started writing only when patience ran out. As an amateur writer and a low level activist, I too intend contributing my share towards humanity in any ways possible. But it also gives me a great satisfaction seeing everybody else doing the same…

  • 2
    1

    Great to see that there is someone thinking like me. I got this idea few years back, but never bothered to write because it is not practical in Sri Lanka or anywhere. The cost of electricity has increased with time and the people are adapted to bear it for luxury. They will not give it up that easily.

    Other issue is the commissions involved with electricity generation. Some CEB top officials are happy to buy electricity from private parties at higher price so that they could get a kick back. Those officials will prevent energy conservation at any cost.

    Recently I wanted to install solar panels. The option was buying panels at very high cost from private companies. The break-even will take about 10-12 years. There are low cost panels available abroad. But CEB website does not give any information about the cost of installing net meters. Their information desk does not know anything about net metering. That is the amount of interest the guardians of energy in Sri Lanka are taking about energy conservation.

  • 1
    1

    I stopped ironing & using an electric kettle years ago. We only use fans and don’t have air conditioners, nevertheless we can never get below 215 monthly units. Is there something wrong with our meter?

  • 0
    1

    Sri Lanka’s Housing Population is 5.12 mn….70% use electricity below 100kwh a month…
    So …100 x 3,500,000 = 350,000,000 / 1,000,0000 = 350 Gw per month X 12 = 4,200 Gw
    30% housing population swallows 2,500 Gw
    Total power generation in 2013 is 13,500 GW …so who swallows 7,800 Gw

    It is swallowed by the extravagence in Colombo encouraged by the Govt…
    all the Govt Dept are Air Conditioned…what do they positively contribute to the Society…? ‘ 0 ‘
    The Govt gives free electricity for energy guzzling condos in Colombo …Hotels…Industries….that includes a very popular Massive Garment Factory…Kandy city center…..all are exempted from electricity…hik…hik…hik….

    Therefore the crisis is not due to the domestic Consumption….
    but due to bad management…political decisions.. which the poor 70% have to pay on the borrowings….

    Our Government is very generous because this Country is their own property no…

  • 0
    6

    If all Muslims go to Pakistan there will be enough electricity for SL.

    • 5
      0

      Netanyahu

      “If all Muslims go to Pakistan there will be enough electricity for SL”

      Perhaps all descendants of Kallathonies returned back to their mother country India, we don’t need electricity.

      Think about it.

  • 3
    0

    Fazl

    What Srilanka is struggling to achieve is,spend more and
    not less.Decorating Colombo,in the name of City
    development was one such thing.Always everything bigger
    as if we suddenly got natural gas,petrol,gold or diamond
    resources.Highways,Airports,High rise buildings,Night
    races,casinos,private hospitals,private universities and
    you name the rest.All money money money.Two million
    internet users now in the country.Austerity is a hate
    word in the paradise.We are already on par with the super
    powers after the war victory!Look how Wimal shouts at the
    US and the West!Just as a result of couple of road works
    city developments!What are you talking Fazl? You talk
    about 10mnts ironing,it’s not enough for us,we want to
    double it!You think we are beggars to go on austerity?
    “Seema beeshana,” the word for your suggestion.Remember
    we are growing.We are now big spenders in the region.

  • 2
    0

    I think polyester and spandex do not “breathe” and is not suited in a hot, humid country. Works in the sports world, but of of cooler climes. Is used in sports to get maximum movement of body. Best to drip dry cotton clothes so they won’t crease. Otherwise, your ideas are excellent. Culture of a little bit of crinkling of clothing must be encouraged. Also, yes, remove the stupid tie.

    • 1
      0

      “Also, yes, remove the stupid tie.”
      Also Known as the British Noose!

      • 0
        0

        Introduce the school satakaya instead

  • 1
    1

    Girls and young women will look very sexy and appealing if they are clad in figure hugging Lycra or Spandex from top to toe. Both are made from the same elastic fiber that is highly stretchable. No need at all to iron.

    • 1
      2

      first get your Grand Ma, Mother, wife, sisters and daughters to wear those. then recommend for others.

  • 0
    0

    Jimsofty, your mother must have given birth to you through her pukka, while taking a shit. SOB, go and jump in the river you dumb $#$^.

  • 0
    0

    JimSofty,

    I did not recommend anything; I merely made an observation. So why are you getting so hot under the collar?

    I am sure you must be forcing all your female relatives to wear the burqa and the niqab!

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