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Friday December 9th, 2022

Sri Lanka to experience power cuts for three more years, warns CEB engineers union

Sri Lanka will continue to experience more power cuts

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will continue to experience power cuts for at least three more years as the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will be compelled to continue load shedding until supply from power plants is enough to meet rising demand, a CEB engineers union leader said.

CEB Engineers Union (CEBEU) President Anil Ranjith said at a media briefing on Wednesday (15) that, at present, the CEB does not have enough electricity supply from power plants islandwide to cater to the country’s existing electricity demand.

With the demand continuing to increase, he said, Sri Lanka will have to continue its ongoing scheduled power outages at least for three more years till the supply increases.

“The power cuts are decided on the demand of the day and the supply we have. If the demand is higher than the supply, we can’t cater to it. Then we must go for a power cut. That is what is happening,” said Ranjith.

The present demand is around 2,800 mega watts (MW) per day.

“The demand peaks at night times. The power mainly comes from hydro, thermal and, if there is wind, then from wind power plants. If we don’t have coal or oil, then we have to go for power cuts,” he said.

“Until we increase our supply, through thermal, wind, LNG, coal or solar, and store our energy, the power cuts will continue.”

Sri Lanka has been experiencing daily scheduled power cuts since February 22 due to fuel shortages brought about by the country’s worsening economic crisis affecting the uninterrupted thermal power generation.

Ranjith said, as an emergency initiative to ease the situation, the government must accelerate its rooftop solar panel project. However, it will not be a permanent solution to the need to opt for continued power shedding.

Responding to comments made by authorities on the possibility of ending the ongoing power cuts in the coming days, Ranjith said fixing solar panels on rooftops in schools and state offices will not be enough to meet the night peak demand.

“Now people think that by installing solar panels, this can be avoided.  We get solar energy only during the day time from around 9 am till 4pm,” he said.

“I don’t know how these officials are saying the power cuts can be immediately stopped. We are engineers. We are speaking with the knowledge we have. Ministers have made these claims before too, but it didn’t happen.”

Ranjith said Sri Lanka should go for battery banks for solar, or more thermal power plants or coal power plants.

“Even if the Adani project is started now, it will take three years to get power. Even then, it is a wind power plant, meaning it will be only generating power in windy seasons,” Ranjith said.

“Let’s say we lost the 500MW coming from this plant. Then we must have another plant somewhere else to cater to that lost 500 MW,” he said.

The powerful CEBEU has been at loggerheads with Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara over an amendment he had proposed, and subsequently passed in parliament, to the Sri Lanka Electricity Act which the union and opposition parties say will remove competitive bidding for new power projects in the island. The union has claimed that the amendment was made to rush through an unsolicited wind power deal with India’s Adani Group.

Ranjith said the CEB has already come up with a 20 year power plan and if the government takes the necessary measures no power cuts will happen in the future.

“We have a plan from 2022- 2041. This plan clearly shows what plants need to come at which time periods. If we can implement those plans, we will not have to go for power cuts. The issue is, it is not being allowed to happen that way. It is like everyone in the country is an engineer and they all go against these plans. Politicians, some of whom think they are experts in this subject, go against it,” Ranjith said.

“That cannot happen. The government should have a plan.”

Asked whether the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) will approve the continuous power cuts, Ranjith said PUCSL approval would be immaterial and the power cuts will occur automatically if the CEB can’t meet the demand.

The PUCSL had, in fact, said Sri Lanka’s power situation will remain precarious for the next four to five years if the officials do not diversify energy generation methods and bring in renewables.

Related:

Sri Lanka’s power cuts to last up to 5-years without renewables PUCSL claims

 

According to the CEB data, on June 14, a public holiday, the peak demand had gone down to around 1,986.4 MW, and 1,177.1 MW of the total demand has been supplied through renewable energy while 809.3 MW has been supplied from thermal power plants. (Colombo/Jun14/2022)

Comments (6)

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  1. Lanka says:

    The engineers have been playing around with various projects, without giving proper advice right through the years. They were satisfied as long as they got their yearly salary increases as well as the money they got from private electricity suppliers! Their daily wages should be cut to the number of hours supply is lost to the public. Engineers have been paid a vast amount of money not only to operate and maintain but to
    develop the electricity supply in the country! What development have they planned, proposed or implemented other than giving excuses and strike action?

  2. Malkanthi Silva says:

    So what is keeping them from adding battery storage with solar power? He is talking about it as a non starter

  3. Grahame letchworth says:

    So all of a sudden you have just realised this now what have you been doing for the last 5-10 years so how come the Government and yourselves have been saying that due to no Diesel fuel that is why we have power cuts this is bullshit there is no transparency either with the Electric companies or the Government you guys are dam right morons that get paid a fortune for a lacklustre performance if you had not blocked Solar initiatives over the decade you would be in a far better place you are in now

  4. Dickie bird says:

    Raking in high salaries, OT & bonuses, yet they are unable to overcome the power crisis and postponed for another three years.
    These are qualified people who can not think outside the box. but capable of opening sluice gates to release water to sabotage electricity.

  5. sacre blieu says:

    Is this an indication of how long the country will take to recover and on its achieve a steady course, after the vast destruction by political meddling leading to fraud and corruption? We are worse than a wondering star, more likely than a collapsing one. The man brought on to save the country has become the prophet of doom and gloom, Even if he has been given out, his utter lowdown nature and the bad spirit, he will never leave the crease. he will kill the game.

  6. sacre blieu says:

    Without continuous and uninterrupted fuel of all grades, to see a continuous process of essential economic activity, we are all screwed. We have to pay for all the money outside grants and the supplies at the end of the day. Imagine when we are bankrupt,who will give loans unless we give tangible collateral.

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Comments (6)

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Lanka says:

    The engineers have been playing around with various projects, without giving proper advice right through the years. They were satisfied as long as they got their yearly salary increases as well as the money they got from private electricity suppliers! Their daily wages should be cut to the number of hours supply is lost to the public. Engineers have been paid a vast amount of money not only to operate and maintain but to
    develop the electricity supply in the country! What development have they planned, proposed or implemented other than giving excuses and strike action?

  2. Malkanthi Silva says:

    So what is keeping them from adding battery storage with solar power? He is talking about it as a non starter

  3. Grahame letchworth says:

    So all of a sudden you have just realised this now what have you been doing for the last 5-10 years so how come the Government and yourselves have been saying that due to no Diesel fuel that is why we have power cuts this is bullshit there is no transparency either with the Electric companies or the Government you guys are dam right morons that get paid a fortune for a lacklustre performance if you had not blocked Solar initiatives over the decade you would be in a far better place you are in now

  4. Dickie bird says:

    Raking in high salaries, OT & bonuses, yet they are unable to overcome the power crisis and postponed for another three years.
    These are qualified people who can not think outside the box. but capable of opening sluice gates to release water to sabotage electricity.

  5. sacre blieu says:

    Is this an indication of how long the country will take to recover and on its achieve a steady course, after the vast destruction by political meddling leading to fraud and corruption? We are worse than a wondering star, more likely than a collapsing one. The man brought on to save the country has become the prophet of doom and gloom, Even if he has been given out, his utter lowdown nature and the bad spirit, he will never leave the crease. he will kill the game.

  6. sacre blieu says:

    Without continuous and uninterrupted fuel of all grades, to see a continuous process of essential economic activity, we are all screwed. We have to pay for all the money outside grants and the supplies at the end of the day. Imagine when we are bankrupt,who will give loans unless we give tangible collateral.

Sri Lanka bond yields end higher, kerb dollar Rs370/371

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka bonds yields ended up and the T-bills eased on active trade on Friday, dealers said.

The US dollar was 370/371 rupees in the kerb.

“The bond rates went up, however more interest was seen in the short term bills by the investors” dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2024 closed at 31.90/32.20 percent on Friday, up from 31.25/70 percent at Thursday’s close.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 30.30/31.30 percent steady from 30.30/31.00 percent.

The three-month T-bills closed at 30.75/31.30 percent, down from 32.00/32.25 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank transactions was at 363.18 rupees against the US dollar unchanged.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers between 371.78 and 372.00 for small transactions, data showed.

Buying rates are between 361.78 – 362.00 rupees. (Colombo/Dec 09/2022)

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Foreign minister, US ambassador discuss future assistance to crisis-hit Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT — In a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Ali Sabry and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung discussed ways in which the United States can continue to support Sri Lanka going forward, the Ambassador said.

Chung tweeted Friday December 09 afternoon that the two officials had reflected on the “twists and turns” of 2022, at the meeting.

Minister Sabry was recently in Washington D.C. where he US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A foreign ministry statement said the two officials held productive discussions at the Department of State on December 02 on further elevating bilateral relations in diverse spheres, including the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations which will be marked in 2023.

Incidentally, Sri Lanka also celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence from the British in 2023, and President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given himself and all parties that represent parliament a deadline to find a permanent solution to Sri Lanka’s decades-long ethnic issue.

The US has been vocal about Sri Lanka addressing concerns about its human rights record since the end of the civil war in 2009 and was a sponsor of the latest resolution on Sri Lanka passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Unlike previous resolutions, this year’s iteration makes specific reference to the country’s prevailing currency crisis and calls for investigations on corruption allegations.

In the lead up to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, Minister Sabry Sri Lanka’s government under then new president Wickremesinghe does not want any confrontation with any international partner but will oppose any anti-constitutional move forced upon the country.

On the eve of the sessions on October 06, Sabry said countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, who led the UNHRC core group on Sri Lanka, are greatly influenced by domestic-level lobbying by pressure groups from the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.

These pronouncements notwithstanding, the Wickremesnghe government has been making inroads to the West as well as India and Japan, eager to obtain their assistance in seeing Sri Lanka through the ongoing crisis.

The island nation has entered into a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an extended fund facility of 2.9 billion dollars to be disbursed over a period of four years, subject to a successful debt restructure programme and structural reforms.

Much depends on whether or not China agrees to restructure Sri Lanka’s 7.4 billion dollar outstanding debt to the emerging superpower. Beijing’s apparent hesitance to go for a swift restructure prompted Tamil National Alliance MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam to warn of possible “go home, China” protests in Colombo, similar to the wave of protests that forced the exit of former pro-China President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The TNA will be a key player in upcoming talks with the Wickremesinghe government on a solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue. (Colombo/Dec09/2022)

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India smogs out Sri Lanka’s China tower observers

 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Chinese-built Lotus Tower has halved visitors to its observation deck an official said as dirty air flowing from India triggered air quality warnings and schools in the capital closed.

“Masks are mandatory at the observation deck and roughly around 50 to 60 can go up to the observation deck at a time, time limits have not been altered and still persists at 20 minutes for observation,” the official told EconomyNext.

Prior to the smog, 120 observers were permitted at once to the deck.

However, even after limitations the Lotus Tower has continued to draw visitors, and revenues are coming in, the official said.

The tower built with a Chinese loan by the cash rich Telecom Regulatory Commission has been described by critics as a white elephant that eats the money earned from telecom operators mainly as spectrum fees.

Sri Lanka’s National Building Research Organization (NBRO) said India air heavily polluted with particulate matter was flowing across the island into a depression in the South West Bengal Bay. (Colombo/Dec09/2022)

 

 

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