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Govt. compelled to take painful decisions
over looming power crisis
- Power and Energy Minister

W.D.J.Seneviratne
As the price of one barrel of crude oil has reached US $ 124,the government speculates that the present price may escalate up to US $ 200 soon. The fuel-consumed electricity generation plants will have a great impact on price increase on crude oil and the Power and Energy Ministry will launch an island-wide awareness program on rationalization of electricity and petroleum resources, the Power and Energy Ministry said.

Power and Energy Minister W.D.J.Seneviratne told The Island that the government was constrained to take some painful decision on the consumption of petroleum resources and electricity as 65 per cent of energy generation was fuel-consumed. The looming power crisis would be another area where the government had already laid special emphasis.

He pointed out that to generate one unit of electricity the government had been expending Rs.15 to Rs.30 and in case the price of one barrel of crude oil was increased the power sector of the country would be severely affected. It was the duty of electricity consumers to rationalize electricity consumption, especially during peak hours (6.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.) because during these hours all fuel-consumed power generators were in operation.

Senior Economist attached to the Central Bank E.Abeysinghe when contacted said that it was the duty of the government to formulate some contingency plans to deal with power generation and petroleum consumption as the world crude oil prices would be escalating. Some senior economists were of the view that the government could take appropriate measures in adjusting the petroleum prices to reflect the exact market prices.

Ecomonist Abeysinghe added that the provision of subsidies to organization should be minimized and most wanted organizations should be provided fuel subsidies.

Both government and private organizations would be required to maintain an energy conservation program constantly and electricity tariff should also be adjusted. Transport and power sectors were identified as the large-scale fuel consumers. Awareness programs on the impact of increasing crude oil prices should be conducted across the country for people.

Abeysinghe said that the Power and Energy Ministry would be required to utilize alternative energy sources such as wind power and solar power. The storage capacities of fuel could be expanded in State-owned refineries and buffer-stock of fuel should be maintained in case of emergency and encouraging efficient use of energy without wastage could avert power crisis.

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