Reducing electricity consumption is the only course of action left for the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) according to an urgent appeal published in newspapers which has been made to all consumers to reduce their electricity consumption due to a 'crisis situation' that has arisen in the country.
CEB General Manager Ranjith Pulleperuma told The Sunday Times FT that wasteful energy consumption is a crime for the whole country and this appeal to conserve and effectively utilize energy should be adhered to by the public. Given the increase in diesel prices, Mr. Pulleperuma said the CEB and the Ministry of Power and Energy will be launching campaigns in the media from time to time, urging the public to conserve electricity. He added that electricity consumption which averaged 28.5 million units per day has dropped to 26 or 27 million units per day over the past few days.
"It has decreased but we don't know to what reason but there has been a noticeable decrease in consumption," Mr. Pulleperuma explained. "We can't tell if it's because of our conservation effort. The climate has been cool and air conditioner use has been minimal but it really does make a difference."
In an advertisement published in newspapers this past week, the CEB says it is hoping to reduce consumption by five percent in June 2008, by 10 percent in July 2008 and continue reducing consumption by 10 percent from August to December 2008. The CEB has outlined several measures for consumption such as refraining from using external lighting such as garden lamps and street lamps (unless for security purposes), refraining from using air conditioning within houses or ventilated offices, reducing the use of electrical appliances such as rice bookers, blenders, ovens and ceiling fans.
The CEB apologized for any inconvenience caused to consumers through 'compliance with our urgent and desperate appeal' and that 'this is a sacrifice you would be making on behalf of the nation.' The CEB further stated that maintaining the electricity supply to a lesser degree is better than a complete disruption to services which the CEB feels would cause damage to the economy, industry and society as a whole.
The advertisement said that the increased dependence on thermal energy has led the country into a heavy debt situation with limited funds available to meet the fuel costs. The appeal is made mostly to the domestic sector which uses 33 percent of the electricity generated and the industrial sector with 32 percent usage. The commercial sector including hotels, responsible for 20 percent of consumption, can also respond, the CEB stated.
In order to maintain the energy balance in the country, the CEB said it has been forced to cut down the use of auto diesel for electricity generation by approximately 100 million litres (equivalent to about 400 Giga Watt Hours of electricity). The CEB considers this necessary in order to reserve sufficient diesel for other economic activity in the country including transport in a scenario of limited funds available for crude oil purchase.