29 November, 2020

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Power Cut Putting The Economy Into A Dark Era

By Amila Muthukutti

Amila Muthukutti

Citizens in this country have had to experience considerable hours of power cuts for past few weeks, mainly due to the lack of long-term vision and policy implementation in national level. We, as a developing country, heavily depend on petroleum and electricity as energy sources, as we don’t have alternative energy sources developed to be replaced with traditional sources. This is why; the entire economy is shocked, when the country runs at a shortage of electricity or at a fuel price hike. Be it a household, a factory or self-employments, all of them can’t do without energy. Therefore, it is needless to note that continuously cutting the electricity causes a huge economic cost by directly hampering the economic growth as well.

Production

Even though it is true that majority of industries established in the country are labor intensive, they are powered by electricity. Consequently, even a boutique aside the road can’t run without electricity. It is under such a circumstance that the current regime has gone for cutting electricity, putting forward excuses that they don’t have options more than this. People face a great inconvenience, once they are unable to continue even their day-to-day activities such as cooking, studies and entertainment so and so forth. All these things indirectly slows down the production process. Moreover, even if power generators are being used at a huge cost by large firms in order to mitigate the impact, small and medium scale entrepreneurs don’t have such a strong financial position for hiring generators for a short period. Hence, people who are engaged in self-employments like running a tailor shop, saloon, restaurant and garage etc, have become victims of the power cut. Although many of these people meet their daily expenses by the earnings from these small businesses, they don’t have options other than closing their shops. The National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) recently warned that disruptions would have adverse effects on vital exports sectors. Even though they use generators, delays in the supply chain can’t be avoided. On the other hand, they have to pay taxes and settle other obligations on time.

Image of the economy

Sri Lanka is a country still struggling for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), despite the fact that the country has lost almost all the factors that are capable of persuading foreign investors. In my opinion, Sri Lanka is a country that faces repeated crises such as political crisis, foreign exchange crisis and now power crisis resulting in an economic crisis. No investor is ready to put their money at risk by investing in a country like ours. They don’t want to see their employees working five hours per day out of eight hours, because of power cuts. In other words, image of the economy badly has been tarnished for past few years.

Politicization

Unfortunately, whatever it is, it gets politicized in Sri Lanka. Therefore, there can’t be an exception for the power cut as well. We can see the opposition blaming the government for not taking right measures to curb the power crisis. Whenever the government fails, the opposition doesn’t hesitate to capitalize on it. However, when they come into power, they also do the same. That is why, Sri Lanka has been a developing country for decades. My suggestion is to see the power cut as a national failure rather than a political failure backed by short-sighted politicians. Every government that ruled this country ought to be responsible for not resolving the power crisis that has been increasing day by day.

Solutions

Solutions put forward in this regard can be short-term as well as long-term. It is reported that Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) signed a power purchase agreement with one independent power producer to the grid. There are few private players in energy industry. They must be supported and facilitated by the government, so that they can increase their capacity. A lot of private energy firms have gone for alternative energy sources instead of being solely dependent on hydropower. It is true that the demand for energy goes up day by day with exponentially increasing population. Steps have to be taken to generate adequate power so as to meet the growing demand. The country is in a dire need of another power plant that has to be set up with high level of transparency.

In conclusion, power cut has put the economy into a dark era where everyone has to suffer. Production process is severely affected. A country in darkness can’t move forward in any way. Disrupted production leads to less revenue, less investment and slow job creation.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    4

    The only plan the US puppet bondscam Ranil has for Lanka is to cripple all Institutions and public companies starting with the Central Bank scam, Sl Airlines, Energy sector institutions and then privatize them via dodgy Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to benefit Trumpland and its partners – Japan, France, EU, Australia.
    An Australian company – Titanium Sands has been mysteriously awarded licenses to explore/ exploit the Pullmodai Sands and other Mannar mineral sands
    There was no tender process or international call for competitive bid and a plan to develop mineral resources in Manner and Pullmodai, no plan to sustainably use, process and add value and industrialize and earn a proper income from the mineral sands. Bondscam Ranil is asset stripping Lanka on the advice of his Trumpland handlers.

  • 5
    1

    Anika Muttukutti,

    So, the offerings made at the Sri Maha Bodhi by the energy minister Ravi Karunanayake for more rain to fill the reservoirs not working ? Rains will eventually come in May, the monsoons, and then the minister and Sinhala “Buddhist s” can claim victory, unless global warming further delays it.

    In the meantime, will have to sufferdue to poor energy planning, in the land like no other, where the mean IQ is 79.

  • 2
    0

    Power cuts in SL are nothing new. We had this problems as long as I can remember but successive govts. never had the vision to rectify the problem. SL depends mainly on hydro power & during periods of drought & less rain fail, we invariably suffered power cuts due to lack of insufficient electricity being generated. Then a solution came with the installation of coal fired power plant, which seem to breakdown frequently, but even then, coal power plants are established as highly polluting & inefficient method of generating power.
    Today, the world is in favor of green energy sources & throughout the developed world, wind farms, despite the protests for ‘desecrating’ the landscape, are a common sight, as well as, encouraging the harnessing of solar power, even in countries where the sun is not found to be always radiating all the time. Maybe the contribution of these natural sources of energy to the national grid is small & the initial expenditure is high but wind farms & solar power is a way forward & SL, despite having these natural resources in abundance, has been slow to follow other countries. The fact that SL has plans to build mega cities but without the basic infrastructure to power the high speed lifts, air conditioners, etc. indicates the incompetence of SL’s leaders. I am sure the Ministers concerned would have thought it is not be a problem if all these high rise buildings had their own fossil fuel burning generators to meet their own power demands & the matter being a strain on the national grid is of no importance.
    Power cuts are experienced in war torn countries or poverty stricken failed states, & in any other country, the Minister responsible for power & energy would have been sacked or resigned at the first instances of a national power failure.

  • 2
    2

    Amila gives us the usual spiel about renewable energy, solar power, etc. But it is quite clear he has no idea about the nitty-gritty of running a national grid. Let’s for the sake of argument say that 25% is supplied by solar power (unlikely as that is). What happens if it rains for a week , as it often happens? The shortfall must be made up by conventional sources , WHICH MUST BE PAID FOR AND INSTALLED for just such an eventuality. So we end up with two sets of generators instead of one!
    Be that as it may, the increased demand is the reason for power cuts. As the author says, apartments in urban areas consume huge amounts of energy. These should be designed to need no air conditioning or a minimal amount.
    There is also the shortfall of water for hydro generation, because agriculture gets priority . Now this may sound heretical, but we should NOT be wasting so much water on rice cultivation simply because our ancestors did so. Other countries use groundwater or surface water and grow more and better rice than we do.The Jaffna farmers have been doing this for ages.

    • 2
      0

      OC
      Solar energy cannot be the staple for a host of reasons, and our wind regime is not very promising.
      Flooding of the paddy field was an effective means of weed control in places where water is available in plenty.
      Even if we do not water our paddy fields the extra hydro power that we can squeeze out will be no match to the growing demand for electric power.
      Should we not think of addressing the problem from the user end?
      Are we using the electricity that we generate to benefit the people (except the cream of the urban elite) and advance the economy?

      • 0
        0

        S.J,
        Yes, the mindless copying of western-designed glass and concrete ovens must stop . Certainly most of the electricity goes to the urban elite in their cocoons .

        • 0
          0

          OC
          Fully Agree.

  • 3
    2

    At the design stage of the Norocholai power plant, Lankan expertise was excluded. At the construction stage, locals who raised concerns were silenced.
    We have a white elephant. The Lankan Elites want their air conditioners to go full blast.
    Here is the problem: The ‘Culture’ of corruption/nepotism/impunity.

    • 3
      1

      OC
      Can you please elaborate on “We have a white elephant.”
      Nuraichcholai is a menace for other reasons.

      • 0
        0

        Whatever other reasons it supplies 38% of our power now and more with drought conditions.The PM must take blame for not approving the Sampur Power Plant in 2015. It is one thing to cancel but do nothing in its pace for 5 years. His Megapolis ideas are nothing but pipe dreams without power.

  • 3
    0

    I here foreign countries install small power generators here and there water usage is mostly directed to those and the profits are taken overseas. Sri lankan companies may be cutting a cut because of the help. I here, Germany, Japan are two of the countries.

  • 1
    0

    Amila should have presented some statistics. Just writing your thoughts do not make sense. I think Politicians wanted total control over Permanent secretaries. So, they changed it. electricity and doctors are two places that they can not take the control of.
    Why the govt can not establish a semi private company or a corporation and install small generators all over the country. Every where it is business, and foreign businesses, and politicians made MAFIAS.

  • 5
    0

    The Awa-jathaka Government formed by Unpatriotic National Party and Sri Lanka Farting Party depicted that people in this country lived in hell during Rajapakse regime and promised to take them to heaven. PM talk about making Sri Lanka the economic and financial hub of Asia. How can we expect from these WPs to develop the country if they are unable to provide continuous power supply. If they had a vision, they should have thought about the power supply and demand and take measures to ensure uninterrupted power supply. I hear that these dumbos cancelled two power generating plants planned by Rajapakse regime. The so called economics maestro Harsha bragged a lot before the election that they know how to fix the economy. I do not think these dumbos can fix even a leaking tap.

  • 0
    0

    The suburban tax payer is experiencing crippling power cuts . Small businesses and families are devastated. Colombo 1 – 15 remains unaffected , at night it looks like Vesak , all lit up – business as usual .
    What kind of a society do we live in ?

  • 1
    0

    Strange!.Eagle Eye, for once has not put the blame on the DEMALU for the Power-Cut!

    • 0
      1

      It was a minor lapse.
      The saying goes ‘let sleeping dogs lie’

      • 0
        1

        Didn’t someone also say “let lying dogs sleep” ?

        • 0
          0

          OC
          But they keep barking..

  • 0
    0

    The government should stop trying to ‘help’ and control private producers, and get out of the way. The market should be liberalized and the prices should be set by producers, not the government.

    It is because the government controls the price and regulates the market that we have a shortage.

    If prices are market set then shortages will cause the price to increase. This will have two positive outcomes:

    The first is that high prices will act as a disincentive to frivolous consumption like garden or tree lights. Power will thus be available for essential uses like hospitals and emergency services.

    Secondly the price increase will create incentive for more private producers to enter the market, increasing supply, driving down the price, and solving the problem.

  • 1
    0

    Our health services for all practical purposes is privatised.
    If you want a heart-by-pass go to Singapore. If you are a Lankan Elite, the GoSL of the time will foot the bill.
    .
    Power production and distribution is in line for privatisation.
    The Lankan Elites who have no political boundary are sleepwalking us towards this.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 0
    0

    What this buggar has stated we already know

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