ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Public Utilities Commission said it had denied a request for power cuts by the Ceylon Electricity amid fuel shortages but said there was a 30 Mega Watt gap in supply which should be bridged through other means and urged conservation.
“We review the power plants and the fuel stocks that is required for them, on daily basis,” Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission Janaka Ratnayake said.
“Based on the results of those reviews only we decide the necessity of power interruption. On the last two occasions we came to the conclusion that uninterrupted supply could be achieved without any power cuts.
“Today we reviewed the situationfrom today to the 31st of January. We have estimated that there is a capacity shortage of 30 megawatts in the peak hours on tomorrow (Friday) which should be properly managed.
“After that, the demand for electricity will decrease in the coming weekend. Therefore, there will be no need for power interruptions on the weekends of 29th and 30th.”
Sri Lanka power consumers have faced unscheduled power cuts because a previously approved load shedding schedule was suddenly abandoned.
To bridge the gap, conservation is urged.
“We urge consumers and institutions to use electricity sparingly during this period and support the Ceylon Electricity Board and the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka,” the regulator said.
The CEB had not started any conservation program (demand management) amid fuel shortages with its general manager engaging in court action for an extension in recent months.
The government also extended the retirement age of public sector workers and issued a circular before his retirement.
The PUCSL, said it was working with generator owners to reduce demand.
“We have started discussions with government and private companies that own power generators,” Ratnayake said.
“Negotiations with two such groups have now been successfully concluded. They have responded positively to our proposal. When there is a shortage of electricity, the owners of generators are encouraged to supply their electricity demand from those generators initially.”
It is not clear how the small generators will be dispatched, or whether they will be encouraged to start the generators at a specific time.