Pavithra denies Power Ministry plum a reward

… plans to reduce CEB costs

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Newly appointed Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi yesterday (31) denied the Opposition’s allegation that she had been rewarded with a top ministerial portfolio for her role in the high-profile campaign to impeach Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.

Addressing the media at the Power and Energy Ministry, Wanniarachchi said the impeachment process hadn’t influenced the reshuffle of portfolios in any way.

She assumed duties at the Power and Energy Ministry yesterday (31) after receiving the portfolio at the expense of Patali Champika Ranawaka in Monday’s mini-Cabinet reshuffle.

JHU member Ranawaka was given the Technology, Research and Atomic Energy portfolio, which Wanniarachchi held earlier.  

Wanniarachchi said, "My hands are clean as I never engage in mean politics and I haven’t created any trouble in any ministry which I worked in earlier."

"High production costs of electricity were the main reason for the present crisis in the ministry. So, costs had to be reduced and the benefit passed down to the customer," she added.

Secretary to the Ministry, M. M. C. Ferdinando said that it was necessary to look for new sources of energy without increasing the electricity tariffs. Increasing tariffs was only one option and there were so many other options to solve the present crisis in the power sector, he said. 

He stressed that it was important to have more coal power plants in the country. The failure to launch the rest of the work at Norochcholai power plant had driven the country into a power crisis, he noted.

Fernando said that the country would not have faced the current power crisis if the ministry had completed the second and third stages of the Norochcholai power plant earlier.

The ministry had made a concerted effort to build new power plants and modernise transmission lines since 2005, he said. "We expect these projects to be completed by the end of 2013 with the help of our new minister and we should have a strong power system. We expect 100 per cent electrification of the country by the end of this year."

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