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Regulator asks for report on sudden Sri Lanka power cuts

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s power regulator has asked for a report on power cuts made by the Ceylon Electricity Board on Monday, after a large power plant was shut down amid a financial crisis.

Sri Lanka’s CEB is in a financial crisis because no tariff increases were given from 2013, and cheap coal power is now running at full capacity forcing the utility to run more expensive liquid power plants.

The power regulator had called for a report on the so-called unofficial ‘load shedding’ that took place Monday without giving notice to consumers.

The regulator said consumers from Wattala, Ja-Ela, Kandana, Kelaniya, Maharagama, Borelesgamuwa, Nugegoda, Mirihana and Hikkaduwa had complained for power cuts of around 2.0 to 2.5 hours.

The regulator said regulatory permission has to be sought for every interruption other than for maintenance.

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Sri Lanka’s power ministry said Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera had intervened to get more fuel on credit to stop the power cuts.

When payments are delayed to thermal plants, who cannot pay Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the plants are shut down.

State minister for power Mahindananda Aluthgamage said there was information to suggest that the so-called West Coast power plant had 1,500 tonnes of fuel.

CEB officials have said that some of the cheapest plants cannot be operated on a ‘merit order’ due to lack of fuel. (Colombo/Feb05/2020)

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