An Echelon Media Company
Sunday July 14th, 2024

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)

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.

View all comments (6)

Comments (6)

Cancel reply

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.

UNESCO DG to discuss archaeological endeavours in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s president has said that he will discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city with visiting UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

Azoulay will visit Sri Lanka from July 16-19 and take part at the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s membership of UNESCO at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo.

She will also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the island, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“I have invited the Director General of UNESCO to visit Sri Lanka and discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city. Several universities overseas have shown interest in supporting us for these activities, and we are moving forward with their collaboration,” Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“Anuradhapura boasts a rich history spanning over a millennium, once renowned as a hub of trade and economics. Preserving and exploring this ancient city’s archaeological treasures remains a significant endeavour.”

“New archaeological efforts in the Anuradhapura district are now imperative,” Wickremesinghe said during a ceremony to inaugurate a 150-kilowatt solar power system installed by the LTL Group at the Sri Maha Bodhiya premises in Anuradhapura on Saturday (13).

Wickremesinghe pointed out that UNESCO has undertaken extensive archaeological projects in Angkor Thom in Cambodia, and Luang Prabang in Laos.

“However, we have not taken the necessary steps to implement these activities in Anuradhapura city. Therefore, I have advised both the Department of Archaeology and the Cultural Triangle to undertake these initiatives.”

These efforts are part of a comprehensive program aimed at establishing Anuradhapura as a globally renowned city, Wickremesinghe said.

While Sigiriya has gained international fame, Sri Lanka has not adequately highlighted Anuradhapura’s historical significance as a major trade and economic center in the past, the president pointed out.

“Cities like Tanjore (Thanjavur), Madurai, and Sanchipuram are often discussed, yet Anuradhapura, the fourth city, has been overlooked. Therefore, it is crucial to develop Anuradhapura city.”

As part of these initiatives, preparations are underway to establish new hotels in Anuradhapura, which will contribute significantly to its development, Wickremesinghe said. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

Continue Reading

Government committed to improving living conditions in Jaffna: Sri Lanka PM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s prime minister, who is in Jaffna “to monitor the progress” and “get a little feedback” has said the government is committed to improving living conditions of the people in the northern peninsula.

“This government is dedicated to improving the living conditions of the Jaffna Peninsula,” Dinesh Gunawardena told a Jaffna District Coordinating Committee meeting on Friday, according to a statement by his media division.

“In order to increase the living conditions, we have embarked on an increase in most of the expenditure needed by the departments, and also special allocations for rural and urban development in the local government area.”

Nationalist Gunawardena met with Tamil politicians at the Jaffna Divisional Secretariat Office and participated in the distribution of rice and egg incubators for low income families.

“A special privilege to be with you all, in order to monitor the progress made by all of you, as well as to get a little feedback where we stand today in relation to the reports given.”

Gunawardena joins a string of leading political figures who have visited the north ahead of upcoming polls.

The government was, he said, “committed to improve the services and living conditions, therefore, to provide the necessary infrastructure for developments, which means much to your area.”

The prime minister said he appreciated the efforts of farmers because “farmers are all private sector, I would say. Let us not forget, farmers are all in the private sector, either in the ownership or in the tenancy. They are private contributors to the national development of the economy.”

The poverty numbers are “fairly managed” in the country. Gunawardena said, pointing out that poverty was a key problems in any economy. “Any country, you would agree with me, the richest country, in the United States even, food stamps have been given. So all economies the world are going through difficult situations in relation to the poor.

“We have to look after the poor especially in these remote villages of the Northern Province…”

Minister Douglas Devanada, MPs M A Sumanthiran, Angajan Ramanathan, C Vigneshwaran, Dharmalingam Siddharthan, and other officials participated in the meeting. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka leader’s presidential campaign faces dilemma over coalition: sources

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s presidential election campaign is facing a dilemma over coalition due to rivalry parties with different political ideologies, sources said.

President Wickremesinghe is yet to announce his candidacy for the presidential poll which is expected to be declared by the island nation’s Election Commission after July 17.

However, his close allies and some ministers in the current coalition government have already started a campaign to promote him assuming that President Wickremesinghe will declare his candidacy.

Three sources who spoke to EconomyNext said legislators from the main opposition center-right Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) are ready to join, but they do not want to be in coalition with the ruling Sri Lanka Podujna Peramuna (SLPP).

“SJB members who want to join Wickremesinghe are bit nervous because people wanted to oust SLPP in 2022 for their past sins including corruption and wrong economic policies,” on source who is in a member in the core campaign strategy group told EconomyNext.

Another source said majority of nationalist party SLPP are with the president, but a few key SLPP leaders do not want to back Wickremesinghe because of his market-led economic policies.

“SLPP does not want to be seen as backing Wickremesinghe’s privatization moves. So a few leaders are worried to join the campaign and have different idea of fielding their own campaign,” the second source who is indirectly involved with facilitating meeting between Wickremesinghe and legislators said.

The SJB is leaned towards somewhat liberal economic policies and has ensured to treat all ethnic people equally, while SLPP has backed a state-controlled economy and has given priority for ethnic majority Sinhala Buddhists.

UNDECIDED VOTERS

There is no formal and transparent survey to assess the popularity of possible presidential candidates.

However, an informal survey shows Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa is leading followed by Marxists Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka.

The same survey has shown a gradual gain for Wickremesinghe in the last three months.

“He is confident of winning, but he has to win most of the undecided voters for that,” a third source, who is in the campaign planning team, said.

“Still things are very fluid. Majority of the people still don’t understand the benefits of economic recovery and the country getting out of the debt default under the current president. We will have a clear picture by end of next month.”

Wickremesinghe was elected as the president in July 2022 by the parliament after his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country in fear of his life amid mass protests and outside the presidential palace.

Wickremesinghe has implemented some tough economic reforms including raising taxes, imposing new taxes, freezing recruitments to state-owned companies, and privatizing loss making government-owned entities in line with commitments agreed with the IMF.

UNPOPULOUR REFORMS

Those reforms have made him unpopulour mainly among government employees and lower income groups.

He has raised the salaries of government employees from April this year while has introduced a new transfer payment called Aswesuma for lower income and vulnerable groups.

Sri Lanka faced an unprecedented economic crisis with a sovereign debt default in 2022. But it has recovered faster than expected under Wickremesinghe administration with difficult and unpopulour reforms.

People protested against the SLPP-led government in 2022 and ousted then leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa and all his relatives from the key ministerial positions for their alleged involvement in corruption and wrong economic policies.

The SLPP which had more than two-third majority in the parliament after 2020 general election, is worried about its perception and electoral performance after the economic crisis.

Analysts say Wickremesinghe has a greater chance to win if he join with SJB than SLPP because of the SLPP’s negative perception.

Sources, however, said they are in discussions with both SLPP and SJB legislators to agree on a common programme for Wickremesinghe’s presidency.

Presidential election is likely to be held either in October first week or second week, Election Commission officials say.

Wickremesinghe lost the parliamentary election in 2020, but entered the parliament in 2021 using the solo seat his party won through the national list.  (Colombo/July 13/2024)

Continue Reading