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Sunday, 6 March 2011

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Government Gazette

Government's main objective:

Electricity for all by 2012



Dr. Jayatissa de Costa

The Power and Energy Ministry's new concept of `providing electricity for all by 2012' is appreciated by the public. According to statistics of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), only 60 percent of Sri Lankans used electricity 10 years ago and this has gradually increased to 87 percent now.

However, the Government's main objective is to provide electricity to every household before the end of next year.

The CEB has established many power projects to fulfil this objective. Some of them are the Norochcholai, Upper Kotmale, Sampur in Trincomalee and Kerawalapitiya. In addition, a large number of small scale hydro power projects have also been established in many parts of the country.

When people commend the Government's effort of providing a 24-hour uninterrupted power distribution in the country, another section is tapping millions worth of electricity in an unauthorised manner.

These power pirates are in the habit of obtaining electricity not only for their houses, but also for large scale industries. This situation has resulted in the CEB facing heavy losses.

Obtaining electricity illegally poses a danger to the lives of the people. Power pirates use various methods to tap electricity. According to records, many people faced accidental deaths in the recent past due to electrocution.

In an interview with Sunday Observer, Chairman, Public Utility Commission, Dr. Jayatissa de Costa said many people who were trying to obtain illegal power connections and also touching high tension power lines were electrocuted and were killed last year.

He said building constructions should be done at least 15 yards (4.5 metres) away from high tension power lines.

Referring to the untimely death of a Sabaragamuwa University student who was electrocuted and died last Wednesday night by touching a 33,000 volt high tension power line, Dr Costa said the distance between the students house and the high tension power line was two yards (less than one metre). This was the reason for the victim being electrocuted.

According to a colleague, at the time of the incident, the victim was speaking to a friend over his mobile phone.

Later he had climbed to the third storey to get clearer signals. While speaking he had accidently touched the high tension power line which was running closer to the third floor of the building.


High tension power lines

Telecom tower Pix- Vipula Amarasinghe

When questioned, a Pradeshiya Sabha official said the building owner had never obtained an authority to construct the third floor of the building.

A senior CEB official who is in charge of a high tension power line station, cautioned building constructors to refrain from constructing houses or buildings near high tension or even ordinary power lines as they can cause damages even to buildings during lightnings with thunder showers.

He said the upper floor of a house at Kurunegala was gutted by fire two years ago since an ordinary power line had broken and fallen into the upper floor during thunder showers.

He also urged people who have lands where high tension or any other power lines were running above not to construct houses or buildings, since the power lines could easily fall on buildings.

The official further asked power pirates not to use hooks for taking power in an unauthorised manner, since 15 persons including two boys who tried to get power in this manner were electrocuted and died last year.

He urged residents to be careful when cutting down branches of trees that are in close contact with power lines.

"They must inform CEB workers to remove tree branches in a systematical manner,"

An engineer who is employed in a private telephone company was not happy with the installing of telecommunication towers in residential areas, since they could harm residents during thunder showers.

He also asked children not to install television antennas close proximity to high tension or any other power lines as it badly affects to the television sets during thunder showers.

 

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