Financial Times

Discussing power conservation measures in AC comfort

By Quintus Perera

Some groups discuss conservation of electricity but have their meetings in air-conditioned halls with hundreds of electric lights on during daytime sessions when these discussions could easily be held under natural light in the open, saving energy.

This was stated by Y. P. Dassanayake, Coordinating Officer, Viduli Paaribhogika Samithi Sammelanaya (Electricity Consumers’ Confederation) at the Forum of “An Analysis of the New Electricity Reform Act and Policy Recommendations” organized by the Pathfinder Foundation (Sanvada) in Colombo last week.

He said that it must be the first time a consumers’ representative has been invited to such a forum. While he represents the electricity consumers, they are also involved in setting up mini-hydro electricity projects through dams across rivers, etc and there are about 300 units. They provide electricity for 10,000 familes, he said adding however that they have many difficulties in obtaining permission for these mini hydro projects.

Mr Dassanayake pointed out while they should receive some assistance and subsidies etc, the permit from Central Environmental Authority alone costs Rs 20,000. The discussion centred on the advantages and disadvantages that would accrue from the New Electricity Reforms Act.

Dr Rohan Samarajeewa, Executive Director, LIRNEasia, and former Head, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, speaking on “Regulating Government owned Business Enterprises” said that things work better under the private sector where there is choice and competition and said that when telecommunication was privatized performances were much better and people got a better service. Under the state it is command and control which has been proved to be ineffective.

He said that even with the new Act, the government ownership is central and questioned as to why the government cannot assure good performances. The state’s inability to give good performances is not limited to Electricity, but also to Health Services, Education, etc and there is political interference.
Dr Tilak Siyambalapitiya, a power sector expert, speaking on “The Impact of the New Electricity Bill on the Development of the Sector – Policy Recommendations” said that the New Act has resolved some of the problems and some of the policy recommendations have been achieved.

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