26 October, 2020

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The Glaring Missing Element In The Electricity Tariff Hike

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Chandre Dharmawardana

While most commentators howled in opposition to the Electricity tariff hike , I have argued (e.g., 7th May, Island newspaper) that this would jolt the nation into a more salutary developmental trajectory. The first stages of development relate to basic agricultural capabilities needed to feed the people.  The vision of successive governments before and after independence had been fired by the ancient hydraulic civilization of Sri Lanka. This led to the Galoya, Walawe, Mahaweli and other schemes that created the nation’s foundation for agriculture as well as hydro-electricity.

As the agricultural needs become established, the key components needed are (a) roads, communication and industrial infra-structure that feeds on  (b) the availability of power and fuel. As a nation develops, people move from simple fuels (used for heating and cooking) to more sophisticated power capable of doing high-end,  `intelligent’ tasks needed in manufacturing and data processing. Politicians, mired in their power struggles, constitutional haggling,  and day-to-day wheeler-dealing are not known to take technology seriously except in war or in rare circumstances. However,  history is driven by technological circumstances.

The circumstances haunting in Sri Lanka today in the power sector are clear. Chronic power shortages due to increasing demands, increasing incapacitation of hydro-power due to global worming, rising costs of imported fossil fuels,  difficulties in implementing nuclear alternatives all converge to create a catastrophic power shortage. The current power hike may have been precipitated due to past mismanagement and corruption but it is inevitable, and would have happened at some point in time, within standard policy implementation even if they were managed without corruption.

Sri Lankans consume about 40 units (kWh) per head per month, given the annual consumption of about 9 billion units by the whole country. This number, obtained by simple division is misleading. In reality, some 10-15% of the 9 billion are due to losses, and a good fraction of the power is used by non-household users. Hence the majority of house-hold users consume even less than the 40 units per head per month (obtained by simple division). The cost for the first 60 units per month per head remains at Rs 10 in Sri Lanka even after the power hike. This  tariff may be  compared to, say, Rs 15 per unit in the USA (national average of 11-12 US cents per unit), and Rs  35 per unit in rural Ireland. So this is hardly a `tariff hike’.

Generally speaking, tariffs are simply inflicted upon consumers and their value is determined by how much the consumer is willing to “take”. There is no fundamental theory of `tariffs’, although economists have written massive tomes of seemingly erudite theories which are mostly irrelevant. The actual market value (tariff)  is manipulated by advertising, by playing with  supply and demand etc. in capitalist systems. The power industry in Sri Lanka is mainly a public utility (Ceylon Electricity Board) subject to political exigencies, together  with some admixture of private power companies. Contrary to political propagandists, the tariffs in Sri Lanka (about Rs 10 per unit at the low usage end) are no different to those prevailing in other parts of the world (as discussed below).

The new tariff structure introduced by the CEB forces the large-volume users in Sri Lanka to pay more. The usual practice is to give lower tariffs to high-volume users to `encourage’ industries. This is in fact a hidden subsidy (or a hidden tax concession) to private corporate interests in the context of a country where the power utility is in the hands of the government. Hence, when the tariff structure was changed to increase the cost to high volume users, I hailed this as a correct step forward. It is a step that would encourage the industrialists as well as the government  to look for alternative energy sources. This is of course not rational planning to create a problem and then solve it. But this is the typical stochastic (cart-before-the-horse) approach used by politicians all over the world!

We need to tie a new horse to the cart to provide new traction.

I have suggested in many interventions that Sri Lanka should embrace solar energy in a big way to face the future, while also encouraging Dendro and other alternative energies. Let the government purchase, say, seven million square meters of solar panels from several sources (e.g., China, India, Japan, Germany, Korea) with each solar panel having an efficiency of 10%; and install them on the roofs of government buildings and public places like sports stadiums, schools, bus depots etc. Such installations would produce at least about one billion units of electricity if we use the (fixed-plate) average rating of 5 kWh of solar energy per day per square meter (data from US satellite studies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado). Given high-volume orders for solar panels, manufacturers will drop their prices, and their governments (struggling with their domestic economic down turns) will  provide low-interest loans for the purchase of their products.

Even at the current market cost of about Rs 20-30 per kWh for solar panels in India, the total cost is in fact quite small compared to the cost of setting up a 1 billion-unit hydro-power station that involves the construction of reservoirs, dams, and power grids.  However, Sri Lanka has invested enough in hydro-power, and it needs to diversify, recognizing the onset of global warming that is going to happen in the next few decades. Here we note that the implementation of the Kyoto agreement on climate change has been abandoned,  due to the economic collapse of the West arising from its expensive wars,  corruption and racketeering by governments  closely linked to western oil and mineral conglomerates.

The consequent boom in the solar-energy sector in Sri Lanka would produce many new jobs (multiplier effect), and  encourage the industrial sector to install solar panels on the roofs of their buildings as well. Banks will give consumer loans to profit from the new business. So, the missing element in the electricity tariff increase is the need for concurrent action where a viable alternative energy source is boosted to a practical reality by pro-active government action.  This will in the end save the nation from its increasing enslavement to imported oil.

[My article entitled “The Electricity Tariff Hike – A great salutary step forward“, Colombo Telegraph, 6 th May,  stated that the current usage pattern is 0.3-0.4 kWh per household’. This should be understood  to read “roughly 0.3-0.4 x1000 kWh per person per annum”.]

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    it’s not just solar energy that could be considered here. we being an island nation, im surprised no one’s considered wave and tidal power generation.

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      However, unlike wave energy, solar energy is now a well established, turn-key industry. (It is not limited to the coastal areas). It is true that if you or I were to attempt to set up solar panels on one’s house, the cost is quite high and you end up paying twice the market tariff per unit of electricity. However, the idea is that instead of the government spending a billion rupees on yet another Norchcholai or Sampur, it should use that money to purchase millions of square meters of solar panels and install them on public buildings, (or issue them to the public). Apparently Germany has had various schemes of that sort for the last 5 years, and it is phsing out nuclear energy.

      But the CEB has only proposed new tariffs, but no new vision to move out of fossil fuel.

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        yes, a govt investment utilizing public and private properties is a great idea!

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    During UNP rule they encouraged the setting up of oil-fired (thermal) power stations in spite of the spiraling cost of fossil fuels. A barrel of oil went to $147 in 2008, and now it has fallen temporarily because of the collapse of western economies. Today only about 40-50% of our power is from hydro. Although coal prices have not gone up that much, coal is extremely polluting, unhealthy, adds to global warming, and we have no place to dump the carcinogenic ash from places like Sampur and Norchcholai.
    While fossil fuels are becoming expensive evry day, solar has become cheaper at the rate of 8% every year. Remember that traditional hydro-electricity has been heavily subsidized by the cost that went to building the dams and irrigation works and power grids. As the writer correctly points out, government intervention (e.g., with the type of money used for the Trinco/Sampur coal-fired power plant), if applied to Solar power, would buy millions of solar panels, and produce cheap electricity; and we DON’T HAVE TO BUY coal and other fossil fuel when we switch to solar. Solar installations do not need batteries if they are hooked up to the mains-grid so that excess power generated during day time can be sent into the grid, reducing the consumer’s power bill.
    So, after hiking the tariffs, a new power source has to be planned for. The CEB has nothing to show! While Dendro (Girircidia) and other biofuels can be used for small (5-10 MegaW) plants solar is the best option as it’s production can be distributed with each house becoming a micro-power station. But I am sorry to say the vision presented by the writer will not work without government or big-capitalist intervention.

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    Solar energy can be encouraged at the stroke of the pen by simply reducing taxes and duties and providing credit schemes for consumers. CEB and LECO could also involve in the sale and installation of solar panels. So why doesnt the Govt do it? Instead they are simply passing more and more burdens on the people.

    Coal Energy was supposed to be a cheaper alternative. Even now it is being said that a unit produced from coal is 10-15 Rs. So then what is the problem? It seems that it is the mismanagemet and bureacracy that is spoiling the situation. Engineers at Norocholai are blaming a single individual for the failings. Can this be accepted? It seems highly improbable that one individual is causing all this havoc.

    Champika Ranawaka, an engineer was Minister of Power. He claimed that CEB was running at a profit. Now his party the JHU says that the economy is being manged by criminals. Ranawaka also wanted to introduce nuclear energy. This at a time when people were protesting about a nuclear plant in neighbouring India. Also if we cannot run a basic coal plant then can we handle a sophisticated Nuclear Plant?

    Technology is available and in use throughout the world. This is not rocket science. But our people cannot get their act together and do something in a reasonable manner. The corruption, nepotism, racism is all taking its toll. By denying meritocracy and democracy the entire nation is failing and paying a huge price.

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    Hi Chandre Dharmawardana,

    market cost of about Rs 20-30 per kWh for solar panels in India
    Does this mean those Indian solar panels come with a lifetime limitation?

    1 billion-unit hydro-power station
    what does that mean? again a lifetime limited hydro power station?

    [My article entitled “The Electricity Tariff Hike – A great salutary step forward”, Colombo Telegraph, 6 th May, stated that the current usage pattern is 0.3-0.4 kWh per household’. This should be understood to read “roughly 0.3-0.4 x1000 kWh per person per annum”.]
    Please check the end of the comments section where a commenter by the name slbarrkum points to you that the number he got from his workings is ~288 kWh/person per annum as of 2008.

    those just some odd stuff i found while scanning for numbers and units just to see if it’s worth reading the article :D i didn’t read the whole article because of the disappointment from your previous one. I will return later. I see that this time you have done some double checking before generating your latex output. in case you were not informed i wrote a final comment below your previous article instead of emailing.

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    interesting to note that in all columns in the table above domestic prices are higher their industrial counterparts. i verified this. now we can’t take everything Dharmawardana says as is :D a policy right opposite to the tariff for the different subscription plans in SL, from what i remember. what should be the policy in a third world nation? subsidize for domestic usage or industries?

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    “solar-energy sector in Sri Lanka would produce many new jobs (multiplier effect)”
    isn’t solar energy business the least complicated of all? i thought it’s just a matter of introducing a new product into the supply chain?

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    Solar Panels don’t produce any power during the peak period from 6.00 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. We need low cost base power and a significant percentage of new renewable energy from Wind, hydro and cost effective solar panels.

    The Sustainable Energy Authority has done a good job in developing a long term guaranteed power purchase structure with the cooperation of the Electricity Board. This has made the generation of wind energy a good business. The returns have surpassed the expectations. There is potential to generate 2500 MW of wind energy, excluding shallow off shore sites in the Palk straight. We may consider inviting foreign investors to establish BOT (Build Own & Transfer) wind energy farms in view of the capital intensive nature of wind turbines. However, we still need base power, in view of the seasonal nature of the wind energy.

    The challenge is to rapidly increase the purchase of low cost coal power produced in Norocholai and Trincomalee and stop the purchase of oil based thermal power, paying up to 50 Rs per unit, when the purchase price of coal power from the Sampur Power plant is not more than Rs 18 per unit. Norocholai plants must have the facility to change over to natural gas, if the commercial exploitation of natural gas becomes a reality.

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      Solar does not produce when the sun is not shining. But if
      it produces enough excess during the day, that energy is sent back
      to the grid and so CEB does not have to release water from its
      hydro reservoirs.

      There are enough alternatives. Even tiny Principality of Monoco is on solar
      and 17% sea-wave power because Prince Albert has been a great
      supporter of working with green approaches. Sri Lanka can also go in a big
      way for Dendro (Giricidia) and a number of companies have gone into it.
      When you burn the plant you release Co2 which was absorbed when the plant grew.
      So it is a net zero-carbon approach.

      The problem is, CEB chairmen and top brass, and most engineers have no vision. They stick to their turbines, power lines and think that only progress is to
      improved the conventional technology.

      But there are new kids on the block (new, alternative energies) that are more appropriate for Sri Lanka.

      Pierre Simon does not understand how alternative energies create jobs! They
      create about three times more jobs than conventional approaches.

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        could you please enlighten the ignorant Pierre Simon on how domestic solar power generation, in particular, creates about three times more jobs, than an investment on a new conventional power plant?

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    This will in the end save the nation from its increasing enslavement to imported oil.
    This time Dharamawardana has made a conclusion based on some good arguments. Indeed what he suggests is a wiser direction for a long term sustainability. But as he suggests, if the government was to go pro-active, then it should make use of its own money, infrastructure and land and generate electricity and push it to the grid as an initial step instead of overburdining the citizenry with loans etc. while they are having enough with the revised tariff.

    Or is somebody embarking on a solar panel business and they needed some public money to invest? :P i remember the vehicle import tax case once. can’t help being skeptical in this wonderland :D

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    One should understand that the shortage of electricity/power is due to under-investments over the years. Sri Lanka did not have money to invest as a result of 30 years civil war. By manipulating tariffs it is completely wrong and unethical one to assume that the energy crisis could be resolved.

    If you try to accelerate development to catch-up the lost years due to war is a foolish thing and we can see the result in many areas, few examples- power crisis, frequent water cuts, vehicular traffic gridlocks, high cost of living etc.

    The list of countries provided are rich countries and have better per-capita income. Comparing with those countries is another foolish attempt by the writer.

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      that’s right. what works for the first world doesn’t work for the third world just as in the case of medicine. environmental impact is no excuse to push SL towards solar.

      last night my friend from india told me despite the indian government having subsidized on domestic solar panel investments (he gave a number like 70%, yet to verify my memory), they are having 12 hours of daily power cut – blame it on their geography and climate. my point is, solar power didn’t solve the domestic crisis in india.

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      Whether it is electricity power generation or any other new form of Power generation…..what we lack is our inability to do enough Research and Development.

      I know many Engineers, Phycists that are just idling in the universities giving only lecturs and cannot do any research due to no funds been allocated for research and development in alternative energy…..or any other research.

      Therefore until GOSL encourage citizens to do more research on alternative energy sources and new subsidies to generate power, this power crisis will loom for ever.

      I think Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that spend most of the time talking about Electricity in all the Media without any results or solutions.

      It’s high time that GOSL utilise more funds to University dons and general public to do more research on alternative sources or enhance the current output and to cordinate with other countries.

      Is storing more water, without opening sluice gates will help to generate more power. If so why don’t the GOSL build more dams.

      GOSL have to Spend more funds on Solar and wind energy research.

      Also find ways to utilise Ocean currents and tides as energy source.

      How about using Mirrors to enhance light.

      Remember Knowledge is power that does not need electricity. So use it.

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    an article written with relevance to the problem, avoiding unnecessary scientific theorems, generates more productive dialog. good job professor. lets see if we can explore feasible tech alternatives.

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    Mr D had referred only the western countries where the earning power is very much higher than our dear Lanka. We must compare the cost with countries with comparable economy

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      If a western country (e.g., Spain) with its high labour costs,
      economic crisis, etc., could go ahead to solar energy, we in Sri lanka, with our
      corresponding cheaper labour costs, and using cheaper Indian or Chinese panels (instead of the more expensive european panels) can do the same. So this type of comparison is quite valid here since we are merely brain-storming an idea and not working out a detailed project.

      Laplace says that western medicine doesn’t work in Sri Lanka!!! Is he a follower of
      the Kelaniya Professor who claims that Western Science is “Patta-Pal Boru”? Then he should shed his “Laplace” thing and call himself something else?

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    Please read today’s Lanka Truth Headlines…..”People burdened with ministers colossal electricity & water bills”

    http://www.lankatruth.com/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4965:people-burdened-with-ministers-colossal-electricity-a-water-bills-&catid=36:top-stories&Itemid=124

    It say….The electricity bill paid by the ministry of a powerful minister of the government for his official residence during the months of October and November last year was Rs. 246,849.96. The bill paid for the period from 12.10.2012 to 08.11.2012 was Rs. 125,735.68 while the amount paid for the period from 08.11. 2012 to 06.12.2012 was Rs. 121,114.28.

    The water bill of the minister paid by the ministry to the Water Supply and Drainage Board for the period from 03.12.2012 to 04.11.2012 is Rs. 45,434.46.

    Accordingly, the monthly electricity and water bill of the minister is about Rs.200,000. The electricity bill of certain cabinet ministers is said to exceed Rs.350,000.

    Therefore we kindly request CT to please do some research and publish the the names of the ministers and their Electricity and water and Telephone usage Bills for the last six months including the President’s house.
    Are these the rogues who came to power to serve their Citizen.
    These amounts are like they are living in the Empire State Building.
    We need their names and the amount of Electricity and water and telephone usage bills.

    We know the Prime Minister was in a Singapore Hospital for over two Months and then in USA Hospital(John Hopkins-Baltimore which is one of the most expensive hospitals in USA where the daily stay alone could cost over 2,000 US Dollars) for over a Month. Could you find out how much his hospital bill was and who paid it.

    Also Duminda Silva was in a Singapore hospital for over ONE AND A HALF YEARS.

    THEREFORE CT, COULD YOU PLEASE FIND OUT HOW MUCH THESE BILLS WERE AND WHO PAID THEM.

    Also please publish these information in internet and Youtube so all these culprits could be exposed to the world.

    Thank you.

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      Corruption is standard practice everywhere in the world. SL polticians are mere amateurs at it but they are learning fast. JR paved the way for it. Globally,
      what ever constraints that existed were dismantled by Reagan and Thatcher, and done to death by Bush and Cheney. Look at how Blackwater, Halliburton, Carlyle Inc etc operate with same oil men (e.g., Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney) as chairmen or strong stake holders, and their level of corruption. Look at the following movie {aired on the venerable Canadian broad casting service (CBC) telling you how Bush, Clinton, Blair, the King of Spain (to name a few) cooled millions each in comfort money allowing Glencore (the biggest copper miner in the world} to do what ever they wanted. We have heard of Rupert Murdoch and his excesses all over the world. Only the Chinese were smart enough to handle Murdoch correctly (disburse his purse in china, make him marry a pretty chinese enchantress and go home empty handed)! The crookery and corruption in Lanka are pea nuts compared to what is going on in the West, or in the UN, or in India around Sonia’s entourage.
      But our fellows will naturally catch up and become world players in corruption too, given enough time. However, half-way up, if they have brown skins working in the west, they can be put to jail just for show, as happened to the Stock-market inside-trader Rajaratnam. But nothing much happened to the real Wall-street crooks. They were too big to jail, instead they got bailed out by Obama.
      The Western leaders, Kofi Ananan, and probabaly Ban-ki-Moon and such types have crafted corruption to a fine art and do it in tuxedo style, with the connivance of the completely illegal state known as Switzerland where all the mafia hide their money legally. Our guys are still doing minor stuff in amuda style so even Lanka truth can write about it. That is the only difference. Just give them time to get more sophisticated.

      Just see the very enjoyable movie:
      http://www.whypoverty.net/en/video/34/

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        Kautilya,

        I understand what you say. Yes What USA did to Brown color outsider Rajaratnam, President Rajapakse did to our own Sinhala Hon.Lalith Kotalawela by perpously bankruptcing his Golden Key empire, frauduntly acquired UNP Daya Gamage’s Sugar cane plantations and his Business, acquired fraudulently UNP Harry Jayawardene’s Pelawatte sugar Industry etc…etc…This is the difference between the West and our own Sinhala Buddhist Deshapremi Sri Lanka.

        Also you may also aware that the illicit and illegal Kasippu business”Molass moonshine” is a 10,000 Billion rupee business now run by the Governing Mafia Business Cartel. Same with drug business, casino, brothel, night clubs, massage parlors etc, whose both investers and the patrons are the ruling elete.

        The difference between West and Sri Lanka is….. in West they screw OUTSIDERS, whereas in Sri Lanka they SCREW THEIR OWN PEOPLE.

        Otherwise how come only in Sri Lanka that the Govt. export our women to Middle East to bring in foreign currency for them to drive Lamborginis and Rolls Royce…..whereas in west they protect their women.

        Also 70% of Sri Lanka population live in Vedda like houses after 65 years of Independence, while the Ruling Junta and his Parliament crooks build mansions and owning 10 to 15 vehicles. Do your own research.

        In the West the ruling elete…. SHARE AND EAT THE LOOT “Bedagena Hora kanawa”…..Whereas in Sri Lanka the Ruling Family…. “Badagena Hora Kanawa” EMBRACE THE LOOT ONLY FOR THEMSELVES AND EAT THAT LOOT.

        Hope you understand the difference.

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          If you put the other side in power, the same thing will happen, but with
          different actors. WE have seen it each time the govt. changed.
          It is the NATURE of the system. Watch this U-tube:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guSdjsctrUQ

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            Kautilya,

            I think Capitalism is good because it makes people to work hard, be their own bosses,encourage to save, invent, to be enterpreneurs and help them to bring out their talents etc.

            In the past we had Kings, slaves and different casts which they did different work were also another form of extreme Capitalism. Always the Risk the took were equallent to the rewards they got. That’s why many past Kings life spans were short and were unpredictable. Short life high pleasure.

            If you study behavioural science both with human and animals you will see that the Pleasure pain theory or Rewards, achievements and leadership which are mostly based on Capitalist theories. That’s why they pay more to a captain of the team or to a Manager in the workplace.

            But the problem begins only when the excess greed, corruption, selfish nature comes to light which is called Crony greedy Capitalism which is harmful to the Individual,his family,his society and the whole world.

            That’s why we still have wars in the world eventhough having so many religions and Laws,UN, CW, EU etc, but hardly anybody…..hardly any crony leader would ever follow.

            Peace.

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            Kautilya,

            Please watch the following video.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsgObhGAIbg

            Another form of Greed.

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    Let me add a few replies before the article goes off the horizon.

    1. Given the physical resources of a country, and the target amount of power needed, and the social objectives, the question of how to generate the required energy optimally is a technical question that we can answer fairly clearly when the the social objectives are specified. The social objectives may be (i) improving the common good of the people and the environment (ii) or maximizing the profits of the share-holders of the power utilities. In what I have written, I have assumed that the social objectives are improving the common good of the people while maintaining prudent, very marginal profitability, and argued that this is best done using solar power that is dropping in price at about 8-10% an year. The hydro-power (effectively sold to the public at Rs 3-4 per kWh has been way too cheap and corrections came in 2008 and now, in 2013. The private power companies that came during the JR’s “encouraging even the rogue barrons era” developed contracts that are very detrimental to sustainability, but looked after the short-term profits of the share holders.

    As scientists and engineers, we (see Jayantha’s, Jays notes) note that corruption and political profiteering are an empirically observed part of human societies (esp. if they are in rapid change), and we can plan for it too (by allowing for a larger part of our energy output going into wasteful ends – i.e., higher entropy production. So we need more energy to run a corrupt society).

    2.Today, the big hotel chains in Sri Lanka (Hilton, Holiday Inn etc) charge room rates comparable to international values. So they can pay international electricity tariffs. Hence the tariff hike is a correct (if stochastic) step. The freezing of the lower units to about Rs 10 – 12 per kWH/month is also a sensible step as that takes the ordinary man off the hook. So the hype about the power-hike is misplaced

    3. However, hype or not, that there is going to be an energy crisis, and that global warming is going to happen, and yet demand is going to rise rapidly are now well accepted. So we can plan for it. Nuclear energy can be designed to be as safe as you wish, but it is very capital expensive and politically infeasible.
    With increasing global warming, even Dendro becomes difficult.
    The choice of solar energy for closer study is thus an inevitable, sound conclusion.

    4. Agni-Kaantha and Safa have said that the only way solar energy can work is by government intervention. It is not the only way, but administratively the easiest way. If the SL government can plan further Sampurs (old name Saamapura) and Norochcholai (old name: Horagolla) utilities costing billions of rupees for the future, why not put that money into Solar? Very good quality US solar panels (lifetime guarantees) including inverters are $1 to 1.50 per unit and hence expensive (see Sbarkum’s note also). But if you order a million panels at once, very different, much lower prices will come in, even from the US.

    But bulk purchasing can also be done by co-operative citizen groups or provincial/municipal councils and not just central governments. Such citizen participation is better than action by central governments. Pull down a Google map of your street. Look at the roof-top topology of a whole street and calculate the optimal coverage pattern; then a green group of citizens can get together and order the solar panels and work with municipal councilors where needed. San Antonio municipality in Texas did exactly that (There too, you have room for corruption and some officials had to resign!). So you don’t always need big government. If Sri Lankans can organize so efficiently to hold `Pela-Pali’ and demonstrations demanding the government to do various things, why can’t they use that same organizing capacity to just get the job done? . The “pela-paali” mentality is a hangover of Marxist politics where the objective was to bring down the government first (Bhanga Weva), and THEN do social good [remember that some leftist leaders who were in prison at the time during the 1st UNP/WarII govt. are said to have supported free education, but opposed its introduction under C.W,W.K as they felt that it should wait till a true socialist government is in place. Furthermore, education is said to lower the militancy of the masses who become ‘bourgeois’ in the process].

    5. Pierre Simon Laplace begins with the working hypothesis that I must be an out an out rogue proposing all this with various hidden agendas. That hypothesis does not bother me since his discourse and language remain entirely very civilized, and his detailed dissection of what ever I write is welcome as I should be able to defend what I say in detail. His critique will wean out errors, and his antagonism automatically becomes in the end a collaboration and a help, because science is a doubt system , and even antagonistic scientific discussions become collaborations!. But we shouldn’t impose ourselves on the forum excessively, and that is why I invited him to write to my e-mail address, and he can create an e-mail box under his french-aristocrat facade.
    I will not challenge him to a duel in the woods of Fontainblue.

    Then I can explain to him that the tariff is an abstract non-hermitian matrix T_{ij}, where i, j are variables that run over all sectors, Hence an actual scalar-number tariff (where micro economic data and macro-economic features are properly connected) has no meaning what so ever. The tariff used in the trade is a fiction based on the psychological compliance of the buyer and the capacity of the seller to force his position. So, when people write articles about tariffs, they are interesting from the point of economic history and consumer psychology.

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      Chandre Dharmawardhane,

      it is not my objective position that i write attacking you on these forums. in fact i have respect for your accomplishments as a fellow sri lankan. however, i do observe that the irritation we readers get from reading nonsense, essentially or otherwise, which are forced upon us on a daily basis by various columnists makes me go overboard with excessive negative criticism at time. all i can do is to make sure that i support my claims with clearly presented arguments. and i humbly request that you put in writing everything that goes in your head about what you want to say instead of demanding us lesser mortals to infer from the many different possibilities what electrochemical signals in your brain circuitry would have made you arrive at certain conclusions that you propose. i stand by two things with regard to your writing here: 1. please avoid unnecessary technical constructs (theorems etc.) that are specific to specializations. 2. take enough time to double check (as you have done this time better than the last where you yourself agree that your latex input missed certain crucial elements of numerical figures that you were quoting) what you write and give it to your daughter (if she’s not a scientist like you) and ask her if that makes sense to her. my objective, as you state is yours, is to end up with a positive output too.

      P.S. I still don’t get the proof of the invalidity of the idea of tariff you present. however we both agree that it’s a matter to be dealt with a ‘human’ (to contrast with a more mechanical/ mathematical) approach.

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        i certainly admire the exemplary maturity of a learned man you exhibit in your approach towards your negative critics while i can already witness some budding journalists here finding it difficult to take criticism – then why would they publish here in the first place?

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        Pierre Simon simply doesn’t want to do any work or think it out himself. He is the typical Sri Lankan arm-chair know-it all who is always ready with criticism. When SBarkum did his own math and came with .288 kWh and the writer had 0.3 kWh, this triggered Pierrre Simon’s sarcasm (but he himself had no number to quote!), where as PSLaplace needs to realize that these numbers have error bars. The 8-9 billion units of electricity usage per year quoted in CEB websites etc., involve line losses, faulty meter errors etc., and the actual consumption may be plus or minus 20%. All you need here are order-of magnitude estimates, and Pierre Simon writes his rambling unfocused stuff and I don’t know how or why Prof. Dharmawardana thinks that Laplace’s interventions are in the end helpful. This is just being `charitable’?

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          well, i’ll take it. i was wrong about 288 kWh per annum per capita being not so off the 300-400 range. i was only worried that the error would magnify by a large factor. i admit i didn’t do the math, had to rush. even if i commented prematurely, Dharmawardana would understand :)

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            correction:
            the error would magnify by a large factor for the total (national) demand.

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              The error % is still the same even if you multiply by any number to get a national, multi-national or cosmic figure.

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            thanks yogi. i got it.
            btw, did it occur to you that since Pierre Simon doesn’t have numbers to quote he doesn’t publish his opinions and instead stays as a commenter to raise his hands and get clarifications? and recently he apologized for sounding rude. i guess the author understands. welcome to the forum btw!

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    May be these articles by academics do have an effect. See the news item in the Island

    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=79062
    —————————————————————————–
    Loans will be given for solar power generation
    Power and Energy Secy.
    May 14, 2013, 10:21 pm

    By Mario Andree

    The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had been left with no alternative but to increase tariffs as banks were refusing to approve loans due to the heavy losses suffered by that state enterprise, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy M. M. C. Ferdinando said.
    Several power projects were in the pipeline to help the CEB to reduce the power tariffs, he said.

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    My Brother in Law after 30 years in Frozen Foods distribution business closed down Two years ago due to High Electricity Bill. 65% of his operational costs are eaten by way of various Govt.Taxes and Electricity bill.

    MY BROTHER IN LAW SURVIVED THE EELAM WAR BUT DIED AFTER RAJAPAKSE MURDERED HIS BUSINESS. NOW HE IS JUST ROAMING AROUND DOING NOTHING.

    There were no incentives what so ever given by Rajaqpakse government to uplift private enterpreneurs or even to breath fresh air, but kept on adding more Taxes on them while all Govt.Corporations are running at Billions upon Billions of rupees as Losses to our economy.

    I will guarantee that many Businesses will go out of business if the new electricity rates are introduced. May be GOSL do this purposly to Punish the Private business enterpreneurs who are mostly conservatives who criticise crook Rajapakse administration.

    Very High Corruption,Bad planning, under educated executive and minor staff, excess Rajapakse goons been employed, highly politicised,free electricity given to all Ministers and other Rajapakse favourits and institutions, Govt.Bureaucracy, high wastage, no proper research carried out to seek alternative energy, wasteful Projects with commissions in mind, burdened Rajapakse Night Races,cricket matches, Mattala airport, Hambanthota Harbour etc, which are not making their own revenue to pay own electricity bills, excess staff, no research and development are carried out, no incentives on alternate energy like giving loans to erect solar panels etc, are few of them.

    RAJAPAKSES MADE SRI LANKA A FAILED STATE FOR EVERYBODY. HIS MOTTO IS COMMISSION AND COMMISSION ONLY. NO TRANSPARENY IN ANYTHING INCLUDING CONTRACTS, ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNING. NINETY FIVE PERCENT (95%) OF COUNTRY’S BUDGET, MONEY, FINANCES, PROJECTS AND ECONOMY ARE UNDER PRESIDENT RAJAPAKS’S HAND.

    PEOPLE SHOULD NOT ALLOW A WASTEFUL MORON IDIOTIC TYRANT TO INCREASE ELECTRICITY RATES.

    RISE UP TO FIGHT AGAINST A DICTATOR, TYRANT, THIEF, LIAR, MORON AND A ACTOR JOKER.

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