ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s daily scheduled power cuts, already extended by an hour, will likely see further extensions following yet another breakdown at the Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai, Puttalam, an official said.
UPDATE: Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijsekara tweeted a short while ago that the utility regulator has given approval to the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to purchase power from private plants and that the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will provide the fuel needed by the CEB to maintain power generation without extending power cuts.
The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the country’s power regulator, issued a statement Tuesday September 27 morning warning of possible lengthening of the ongoing 2-hour-and-20-minute outages by “several hours” after the third unit at the Norochocholai had to be shut down.
Minister of Power & Energy Kanchana Wijesekara tweeted a short while later that the breakdown was due to a steam leak and that fuel power plants will be used to manage power generation in the mean time. Repairs are expected to take three to five days, he said. The minister did not comment on whether power cuts will be longer.
CEB has informed that the Unit 3 of Norochcholai power plant has been shut down due to a steam leak. Maintenance work estimated to take 3-5 days. Fuel Power Plants will be utilized to manage the Power generation until the repair work is completed.
— Kanchana Wijesekera (@kanchana_wij) September 27, 2022
PUCSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayake told EconomyNext that the public will be informed of the new power cut hours within the day.
On August 15, Unit 1 at Lakvijaya was shut down, after which power cuts were extended from one hour and 20 minutes to three hours. The unit was repaired in under two weeks.
However, the regulator has been warning of further extensions due to the authorities’ failure to secure a coal supply for October 2022-2023.
“Under the present circumstances, we may have to go for longer power cuts. With the shutdown of the third unit at Norochcholai due to a breakdown, only one plant at Norachcholai out of three now generates power for the grid,” said Ratnayake.
“We may bring in fuel, or other oil for now. But we need a long term solution for this. Otherwise the country will go into a more critical situation.
“It will have an adverse effect on power generation and on the economy as well. Political leaders together with other authorities should focus on finding a permanent solution to this. It can be renewable or any other method. But the time has come for us to find a solution without waiting any longer,” said Ratnayake. (Colombo/Sep27/2022)