The 49th anniversary of Ceylon Electricity Board, was celebrated on 01st November 2018.
In celebration of the 49th anniversary, a special programme was organized with the intention of commemorating the national service of the Ceylon Electricity Board, paying homage to everyone who dedicated their lives for enriching the lives of Sri Lankans through power, and wishing success in all future endeavours of Ceylon Electricity Board. The programme was attended by the Chairman of Ceylon Electricity Board Mr. W. B. Ganegala, General Manager Eng. A. K. Samarasinghe, Additional General Managers, Finance Manager, Deputy General Managers and many other senior officials. While the main programme was held at the Head Office, simultaneous celebrations were held at Provincial Offices, Area Offices, Power Stations and Customer Service Centres.
In his speech, the Chairman spoke about the national contribution of Ceylon Electricity Board in enriching lives of Sri Lankans through power. He admired the contribution of all the previous governments towards the development of the energy sector in Sri Lanka. Having stated that Sri Lanka has today reached 100% electrification, he extended his thanks to every member of CEB family who has contributed in reaching this significant achievement. The Chairman also explained the importance of maintaining discipline among members of the staff, which is essential in successful performance. Having congratulated each section especially in the aspects of generation, transmission and distribution for the commendable progress, he reminded everyone of the long history of electrification of Sri Lanka.
In 1881, the city of Bristol in England, was lightened by electricity. In 1882, Ceylon, which was then a colony of Great Britain, experienced slight strokes of the magnificence of electricity through the ship SS Helios. Ceylon first experienced electricity when the billiard room of the Bristol Hotel in Fort, Colombo was illuminated with electricity in 1890. In May 1895, MS Boustad Brothers provided the first power supply to Colombo. In the first half of the twentieth century, Colombo Trams and Lighting Company and Kandy Lighting Company met the electricity needs of the country.
In an era when electricity generation was merely a dream, Engineer D. J. Wimalasurendra, who is today known as the Father of Hydro Electricity in Sri Lanka, proposed about hydro electricity generation in Ceylon. In 1918, he submitted the paper ‘Economics of Power Utilization in Ceylon’ to the Institution of Engineers, with this proposal.
In 1926, a separate unit was established for electricity under the Deputy Director of Public Works Department. In 1928, the government decided to establish a thermal power plant in order to meet the increasing demand for electricity, and this power plant was named ‘Sir Herbert Stanley Power Station’.
In 1935, two tariff system was introduced, and in the same year, Electricity Board of Ceylon was established under the Act No. 35 of 1935. But the Board which commenced work on 01st March 1936, was dissolved in May 1937, leaving all the duties and responsibilities to the Department of Government Electrical Undertakings. Amidst the obstacles that arrived with the Second World War, electricity was supplied to the country. The electrification schemes in Bandarawela, Diyathalawa and Haputale, are some of the important undertakings of this time period.
National patriots such as Sir James Peiris, Marcus Fernando, Baron Jayathilake, Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, and the journalists who were inspired by the long sighted vision of Engineer D. J. Wimalasurendra proposed through ‘Economics of Power Utilization in Ceylon’, protested requesting the government to execute the hydropower generation project. With the election of Wimalasurendra to the national government, the dream of generating hydropower in Ceylon became a reality, especially under the patronage of Sir John Kotalawala.
As a result, Laxapana Hydropower Station, the first hydropower station in Sri Lanka with a capacity of 25MW, was declared open on 30th October 1950. This was followed by Inginiyagala, Kelanithissa, Mannar and Wimalasurendra power stations.
On 1st November 1969, Ceylon Electricity Board was established under the Act No. 17 of 1969. Since then, Ceylon Electricity Board has played a pivotal role in fostering Sri Lanka through its workforce and technical expertise, for 49 successful years. Following the vision ‘Enrich life through power’ and adhering by the core values, Ceylon Electricity Board has been providing an excellent service to the Sri Lankan consumer through efficient and effective approaches in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
Today, the Ceylon Electricity Board owns 26 power stations including 17 hydropower stations, 7 thermal power stations, a coal power station and a wind power plant. By mid-2018 the net generation of Ceylon Electricity Board is 1,312.338 GWh and the installed capacity is 4,083.78 MW. The transmission line 220 kV extends for 601 km while the transmission line 132 Kv extends for 2313 km. Distribution of electricity across the country occurs through the four divisions Distribution Division 1, Distribution Division 2, Distribution Division 3, Distribution Division 4. Having provided electricity to 6,291,647 consumers including street lighting, Ceylon Electricity Board has today reached 100% electrification, becoming the first country to reach this level in South Asia.
Massive programmes such as Surya Bala Sangramaya and Sulang Bala Meheyuma have been carried out and with the intention of further strengthening supply for the growing demand for electricity. Construction projects Uma Oya and Broadlands are ongoing at the moment. Commencement of the construction of Moragolla power station, would take place in the near future.
By participating in exhibitions such as Vidulka and Techno Sri Lanka, it offers the knowledge on electricity generation, transmission and distribution to the public. Through these exhibitions, Ceylon Electricity Board constantly raises awareness on energy saving in lighting and household activities and on electricity safety. Ceylon Electricity Board, in collaboration with the Department of Education and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation organizes an All Island Quiz Competition with the intention of disseminating its technical knowledge to the next generation of the country. The first and the second stages of the competition were held in 2014, 2015, 2016 and, the third stage is taking place at the moment.
Today, Ceylon Electricity Board performs its duties much closer to the public. It offers its service through 12 Provincial Offices, 62 Area Offices and 217 Consumer Service Centres. The 1987 hotline is established to provide convenient access to the electricity consumer, to reach in cases of breakdowns, inquiries and complaints. Quite convenient options in paying electricity bills are available today, especially including the enhanced online payment feature offered through the newly launched official website of Ceylon Electricity Board.
Ceylon Electricity Board practices a customary ritual to ask for blessings on Sri Lanka and its people by honouring Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi through a pen pooja, with the water collected from the 12 main reservoirs used for hydro electricity generation. It fervently extends patronage to events such as Mihinthala Aloka Pooja and Giri Handu Se Aloka Pooja, held on behalf of religious days such as Vesak Poya and Poson Poya. It also holds an annual Christmas Programme with a special sermon and a session for children.
Ceylon Electricity Board, which has thus enriched lives of Sri Lankans through power for 49 years, is expecting to celebrate the 50th Grand Anniversary in 2019.