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Chinese bid for second LNG power plant to be disqualified for failure to submit bid bond

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By Ifham Nizam 

The submission of bids for the LNG Second Power Plant Sobedanavi at Kerawalapitiya, has been opened.

The 350 MW power plant to be run on LNG is to be a BOOT – Built Own Operate and Transfer- venture.

More than 15 companies bought bid documents called RFP – Request for Consultant Services Proposal – from various parts of the world, yet only two companies have submitted bids; CNC of China and Lakdanavi from Sri Lanka.

A senior Electrical Engineer told The Island that the Chinese company had not submitted the bid bond. The value of the bid bond was Rs. 600 million or USD 3 million.

“The Chinese company has stated at the bid opening that they submitted a bid without a bid bond as their head office had asked them not to give a bond to the CEB,” a senior official said.

The Chinese government too will not support their company to provide bid bonds to the value of USD three million.

“This could be due to the country’s bad economic situation or not having faith in the system, and, therefore, the Chinese bid has to be rejected,” the official said.

He also stressed that now the Sri Lankan company had to find foreign exchange to build the power plant to help the CEB to meet long term generation plans. The Island learns that the Asian Development Bank was likely to be one of the funding sources.

“This shows there is no trust to invest in the country’s power sector. Usually, IPP – International Power Purchasing – is a preferred business for the energy market,” he said.

While such is the situation, various elements are pushing for investment by New Fortress Energy, USA, which came forward with a backdoor offer to buy 40 percent shares of the Westcoast Power Plant Limited (WCPL) at USD 250 million.

WCPL owns Yugadhanavi HFO –Heavy Fuel Oil- power plant which is 12 years old and will have to hand over to CEB for one USD in 2035.

NFE has sought to supply LNG to WCPL and Sobedanavi as Part of the deal for five years at less than USD10 /MMBtu -Metric Million British Thermal Unit- including FSRU terminal charge. The CEB and the country will save nearly USD one billion over five years by operating above two power plants with LNG, it is claimed by its promoters.

The CEB was planning to have 5000 GWh from LNG based power which is nearly 1/3 of annual energy requirement.

If the 5000 GWh are to be generated from oil HFO and diesel then the country works have an additional cost of nearly Rs. 30 billion annually.



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Now, CEB plans to ‘rationalise’ tariff

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By Ifham Nizam

Plans are afoot to ‘rationalise’ the electricity tariff shortly, Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando said, adding that the 52-year-old system should be changed for the betterment of the electricity consumer.

CEB Chief told The Island the CEB tariffs need to be changed to better reflect the use and the income level of the consumer. Ferdinando added that he had already briefed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on it.

Ferdinanado said that right now waste and corruption on CEB’s part had also been added to the consumers’ bill.

He said the CEB had received 1500 MT of fuel yesterday and would receive another shipment soon. However, thort-term power interruptions would continue in several areas until the operations at the Kelanitissa Power Station returns to normal.

“The power interruptions are an annoyance and we are looking for solutions. We too want to provide an uninterrupted power supply to our customers. Our hydro-power generation capacity is low as water levels in reservoirs are receding,” he said.

CEB’s Systems Control Department officials said that power outages might be experienced for one and a half hours due to problems at the Kelanitissa thermal plant complex.

CEB Media Spokesman, Additional General Manager Andrew Navamani said that the national grid had lost 282 MW due to the issues at Kelanitissa thermal plant. He said the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had informed the CEB that necessary stocks of fuel for Kelanitissa power plant would be provided by yesterday night.

However, it would take several hours to start the generators, he said.

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Ranil calls on MPs to think anew to find solutions to problems engulfing country

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By Saman Indrajith

Traditional politics did not have solutions to problems and the MPs should think anew to find solutions, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Participating in the adjournment debate on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement, the UNP leader said: We have come to the end of politics. If we go by the words of Francis Fukuyama, it is a question of the end of politics. But that does not mean the end of parliament. We in parliament must think afresh. We must have the strength of finding a new way. We must discuss on bringing about long-term policies which could provide us with a new framework to find solutions for the problems of the people. Thereafter we can go for elections and ask people to decide who or which party could do better. Japan did so. Great Britain is doing so. India and Canada do the same. Why cannot we do it here? If we have common consensus here, we can plan to go for a new era. We must understand this reality.

“The President has commenced this new session at a time when the country is faced with the biggest economic and political crisis in 34 years. In his statement he mentioned only the foreign reserve crisis. The economic crisis we are facing is far more critical than that. We created a middle class with open economic policies. With the collapse of the open economy, the middle class too will collapse. There are a handful of companies and individuals who could earn profits while the entire economy is collapsing. We must decide whether we’ll perish or unite to work out a plan to survive,” Wickremesinghe said.

“We have come to the end of traditional politics. We may shout at each other and go out to shout slogans. None of them will be able to help us find solutions. The problems at hand cannot be solved without a policy framework and strong middle-term plan. What we are facing today is the end of traditional politics,” he said.

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Chandrika says Sirisena should be thrown out of SLFP

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Former President Maithripala Sirisena should be thrown out of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) for making it a junior partner of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said on Wednesday night after appearing before the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCoI) appointed to implement the recommendations of the final report of the PCoI into alleged Political Victimisation.

Both Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had destroyed the SLFP, she alleged.

The former President said that she had urged Sirisena not to join the SLPP as that would mark the end of the SLFP.

“I repeatedly told him this and in response Sirisena removed me from the party’s Central Committee and stripped me of my organiser’s post.

Now, Sirisena is saying the same things I said about the SLPP. Even during the war, I managed to get the economy up and running. Look at it now, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she said.

Bandaranaike was also critical of the SPCoI, stating that she had not been summoned before the PCoI on Political Victimisation for her to respond to any allegations against her.

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