The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) is to summon the officials of the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) over the islandwide blackout experienced on March 13, and subsequent power cuts in various parts of the island.

Chairman of COPE, Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti talks to Nation on the issues that would be raised when questioning the officials.

Q. The COPE has decided to summon the officials of the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy and of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). What is the reason behind the COPE’s summons?
As you know the power outage has had a tremendous impact on the country. The entire country came to a standstill for hours. Therefore, we need to monitor the progress made by officials of the relevant ministry and the board.

Q. Who are the officials who have been summoned?
We have summoned the Chairman of the CEB, its Board of Directors and the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy. They are expected to arrive before the COPE on March 24.

Q. On what aspects would you question these officials?
We would question them the extent of the progress made on the investigations pertaining to the blackout on March 13. We would ask whether they had found out the cause for the incident and on now they were planning to address the issue which had caused the power outage. In addition, we would also question on the extent of the damages caused by the power outage. Most importantly we would question them on whether they have formulated a strategy to prevent or address such situations in the future.

Q. Have you obtained any information about the power outage, based on which you would question these officials?
No. The COPE has not received any information on the incident from any other source. We would be getting first hand information once we summon the officials on March 24.