With the water levels in the hydro-electric power reservoirs dropping to dangerously low levels and heavy showers not expected till October, the Ceylon Electricity Board says it is depending on thermal generators for more than 80% of power supplies and if the situation worsens it may be forced to impose the dreaded power cuts.
For the past few months the CEB has been appealing to people to switch off at least one bulb during the peak time between 6.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. but the response has apparently not been good with most people being shocked by the huge electricity bills. Opposition critics and independent analysts meanwhile claim the crisis is connected not only to the weather but also to rampant corruption and fraud which plague the CEB and most state institutions.
Whatever the reasons, the people need to act in a spirit of patriotism not merely to reduce their electricity bills but to save the country from an economic breakdown. Saving electricity will be an act of enlightened patriotism in contrast to the pseudo-patriotism of ruling party politicians who plunder the country’s wealth and resources while pretending to serve the people.
Whatever the politicians do, we appeal to every family to switch off every unnecessary bulb or fan, reduce the usage of electrical appliances and cut down on TV or radio time. For instance, the electric iron is known to consume a lot of electricity. If the family could work out their schedule so that all could iron at the same time, it will be a big saving. If each family could in these and other ways save about 30 units a month, then the total will be tens of thousands of units and power cuts could be avoided.
For all this to happen, as in other cases the example must be set by political leaders. Most of them apparently do not care much because their huge electricity bills are paid from public funds. But from now on if the political leaders could come to Parliament or elsewhere and show a substantial reduction in their electricity bills, it will be an electrifying example to the people.
In addition, big political shows or tamashas where there is a heavy consumption of electricity need to be curbed or cancelled. The President and the ministers especially need to take bold and effective steps because power cuts will be devastating for the economy, which is even now on a shaky foundation. Religious leaders also need to take an initiative in reducing electricity consumption for religious events or festivals because acting for the common good of the country is a deep act of spirituality.