Bonus shares to CEB employees to prevent human errors | Daily News

Bonus shares to CEB employees to prevent human errors

On August 17 Sri Lanka had a nationwide power outage. The experts on electricity say it cost Rs.millions. This is the sixth black out by the grid since the end of the Eelam wars, with blackouts in 2009, 2014, 2015, twice in 2016, and on August 17, 2020.

In 2014, the then Minister of Power and Energy, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, revealed that the Norochcholai power plant had been offline for 271 days out of the 1086 days since it had been operating.

On March 13, 2016, Sri Lanka experienced another 7 hour island wide blackout due to a damaged transformer in the 220 kV substations at Biyagama. It is considered to be the worst nationwide power outage in 20 years. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed a five-member committee to investigate the blackout. Due to initial suspicions of sabotage, President Maithripala Sirisena deployed troops to guard electrical installations until the investigation was completed. The CEB also reported that the outage caused Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant to fail, resulting in a loss of 900 Mega Watts to the National Grid. On March 23, 2016, Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya notified parliament that the reason for the power outage was a lack of regular maintenance of power installations. The engineer in charge of the Biyagama Substation had previously reported that a key transformer needed maintenance; however, no repairs were made.

The authorities in the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) say the nationwide power outage on August 17 has caused due to a “human error”. A superintendent has accidentally earthed a live line and the system collapsed.

The other black outs given above also could have been due to human errors of superintendents, engineers managers or even labourers. These human errors can hold the country to ransom. According to Wikipedia the number of persons employed by the CEB was 20,593. The public talks of a power mafia leading in the CEB. The blackouts have even been linked to conspiracies.

The CEB is doing a business. It generates, transmits and sells power. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is the largest electricity company in Sri Lanka. With a market share of nearly 100%, it controls all major functions of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and retailing in Sri Lanka. It is one of the only two on-grid electricity companies in the country; the other being Lanka Electricity Company (LECO).

The CEB earned approximately LKR 400 billion in 2018, with a total of nearly 5.42 million consumer accounts. It is a government owned and controlled utility of Sri Lanka that takes care of the general energy facilities of the island. The Ministry of Power and Energy is the responsible ministry above the CEB. Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), established by the CEB Act No. 17 of 1969, is under legal obligation to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical system of Electricity supply in accordance with any Licenses issue

During a tree planting campaign at the Dematagoda Railway Yard during the commencement of duties for 2020, former Transportation, Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has said CEB incurred a loss of Rs. 85 billion in 2019 and is likely to record a loss of over Rs.120 billion in 2020, based on the current projections. He noted that many of the state institutions had become loss making institutions due to their inefficiency.

When a sudden power crisis is anticipated power is purchased under emergency purchasing procedures from independent power producers. There are 7 thermal power plants operated by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and 128 renewable power plants operated by Small Power Producers (SPPs) including mini hydro plants, solar power plants, wind power plants and biomass power plants. Public suspect some relationship exits with CEB human failures and Independent power producers.

These human failures cannot be made human successes by appointing expert committees whenever a CEB human fails. Human failures can be made human successes only by motivating CEB employees ( human) to develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical system of electricity supply. To motivate CEB employees to prevent frequent power outages causing heavy losses to CEB and the country following suggestions are made.

1.Restructure CEB as a Public Limited Liability Company.

2. The value of the net assets of the CEB should be considered as the paid up share capital of the newly formed company owned exclusively by the government.

3.The government should retain 50% of these shares and 50 % of the controlling interest of the newly formed company. The balance 50% of shares should be sold to CEB employees and CEB Consumers. Share ownership must be made a requirement to be an employee of the new company. To ensure existing CEB employees to continue their services as employees of the newly formed company they must be issued some shares as Bonus shares recognizing their services. They should have the right to buy additional number of shares from the 50% shares offered to employees and electricity consumers. By this arrangement the employees of the enterprise also become stakeholders and they will do their best to run the enterprise as a profitable venture.

Through this arrangement I suppose there will not be human failures in the newly formed company and frequent power outages in the country.