The Power and Energy Ministry is to send circulars to all government offices, instructing them to run their air conditioner temperatures at 26 degrees Celsius, Power and Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.
The circular is to be issued as part of the ministry’s plans to mitigate the country’s energy crisis. Meanwhile, the ministry will promote the use of solar power generation to mitigate the crises in the long term under its ‘Surya Bala Sangrama’ programme.
The ‘Surya Bala Sangrama’ programme is envisioned to establish small scale solar power plants on rooftops of at least one million families in the country making them electricity producers as well as consumers.
It is expected to add 200 MWs to the grid by 2020 and add another 1000 MWs by 2025, said ministry sources.
Minister Siyambalapitiya said moves are underway by the government to conserve energy as the country is stumbling into a major power crisis due to the ongoing drought.
“The country is facing its worst drought after 2006,” the minister said. “We need the support of the public at this hour of need to conserve energy.”
“We are urging the public to do so with programmes such as ‘Viduli Wasana’ with plans to give away incentive allowances as well to those citizens who contribute to energy conservation,” he said.
The minister appealed to the public to save 25 Mega Watts. He said the extreme heat has threatened to sap the water in the hydro reservoirs. It threatens to prevail for five to six months, he said.
“The government has already promised its support to us. We have informed President Maithripala Sirisena about the coming crisis and that we may have to go for quite expensive diesel and coal for power generation,” he said.
“We have told them that we are not prepared to place the burden on the public,” he said.
President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed Sub-Committee to look into the matter. Siyambalapitiya said they submitted their proposals for mitigating the crisis to the Sub-Committee.
Speaking on the ‘Surya Bala Sangrama’ solar power generation programme, Minister Siyambalapitiya said they have already started the programme in Bakamuna Puwakgaha Ulpatha area with the participation of the President.