Political crisis: power sector at a standstill – Tender crisis intensifies

Several procurement processes in the power sector has been completely stalled due to the current political crisis in the country, it is reported.

Over ten of the proposals which had been sent for Cabinet approval
for future power generation requirements have been held up.

According to internal sources, among these proposals are those for the implementation of projects that would uplift the reliability and efficiency of the transmission network according to the CEB long term transmission plan.
The procurement process for these projects needed the Cabinet approval to present these tenders to the chosen suppliers, but this process has now come to a stand-still.

The above sources said that these delays would eventually affect the maintenance procedure which would lead to problems in the power sector.

The delays would also cause delays in the maintenance of power stations reducing their efficiency, new power generation projects would be delayed as many of the proposals presented for approval has been held up.

Issue over coal tender again:

The Secretary of the Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Dr. B.M.S. Batagoda has come under criticism for having called for tenders for the purchase of three tons of coal for power generation at a time there was no Cabinet.

The purchase price of a ton of coal was $ 100and the total value of the transaction is around Rs. 5400 million.

However, the ministry secretary said that the allegations against him with regard to the coal tender is baseless.

When contacted in this regard, Batagoda said that he has taken measures to break the coal monopoly that existed previously and create a more transparent tender procedure.

Accordingly, he said long term and short term purchases would be made including emergency purchases. Batagoda said that after he took over he had taken measures to break the past monopoly and establish a more transparent purchasing method through proper tender procedures.

“In the power generation process what is mainly done is produce thermal power through coal and there is a method for purchasing. Generally a buffer stock for six months should be maintained and the stocks should be obtained prior to the period between April to August as the seas get rough and coal transportation cannot take place. That is the nature of this system,” he said.

Tenders still not opened:

Accordingly, while tenders have been called for the controversial 300,000 tons coal tender, Batagoda said that so far they had not been opened.

“If the issue is that there is currently no Cabinet, then my question is should power generation stop just because there is no cabinet or government? Then how will these allegations change?

Moreover, coal can only be transported within the next four months as the seas will become rough and transport would not be possible. Therefore, we need to get the required coal stocks, if not there won’t be enough coal for power generation.

Under these circumstances, we are following the best and appropriate methods. There is no fraud committed here. I am the one who stopped the fraud that was happening throughout. But as I have stopped the coal monopoly, this is an issue for some parties,” he said.

Therefore, Batagoda said all purchases would be made through open tenders.