An Echelon Media Company
Tuesday November 29th, 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)

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.

A new Sri Lanka monetary law may have prevented 2019 tax cuts?

ECONOMYNEXT – A new monetary law planned in 2019, if it had been enacted may have prevented the steep tax cuts made in that year which was followed by unprecedented money printing, ex-Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said.

The bill for the central bank law was ready in 2019 but the then administration ran out of parliamentary time to enact it, he said.

Economists backing the new administration slashed taxes in December 2019 and placed price controls on Treasuries auctions bought new and maturing securities, claiming that there was a ‘persistent output gap’.

Coomaraswamy said he keeps wondering whether “someone sitting in the Treasury would have implemented those tax cuts” if the law had been enacted.

“We would never know,” he told an investor forum organized by CT CLSA Securities, a Colombo-based brokerage.

The new law however will sill allow open market operations under a highly discretionary ‘flexible’ inflation targeting regime.

A reserve collecting central bank which injects money to push down interest rates as domestic credit recovers triggers forex shortages.

The currency is then depreciated to cover the policy error through what is known as a ‘flexible exchange rate’ which is neither a clean float nor a hard peg.

From 2015 to 2019 two currency crises were triggered mainly through open market operations amid public opposition to direct purchases of Treasury bills, analysts have shown.

Sri Lanka’s central bank generally triggers currency crises in the second or third year of the credit cycle by purchasing maturing bills from existing holders (monetizing the gross financing requirement) as private loan demand pick up and not necessarily to monetize current year deficits, critics have pointed out.

Past deficits can be monetized as long as open market operations are permitted through outright purchases of bill in the hands of banks and other holders.

In Latin America central banks trigger currency crises mainly by their failure to roll-over sterilization securities. (Colombo/Nov29/2022)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka cabinet clears CEB re-structure proposal: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet has cleared proposals by a committee to re-structure state-run Ceylon Electricity Board, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijeskera said.

“Cabinet approval was granted today to the recommendations proposed by the committee on Restructuring CEB,” he said in a twitter.com message.

“The Electricity Reforms Bill will be drafted within a month to begin the unbundling process of CEB & work on a rapid timeline to get the approval of the Parliament needed.”

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board finances had been hit by failure to operate cost reflective tariffs and there are capacity shortfalls due to failure to implement planned generators in time. (Colombo/Nov28/2022)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka new CB law to cabinet soon as IMF prior action

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s new central bank law will be submitted to the cabinet as a prior action of International Monetary Fund with clauses to improve governance and legalize ‘flexible’ inflation targeting, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

Under the new law members of the monetary board will be appointed by the country’s Constitutional Council replacing the current system of the Finance Minister making appointments.

“It will be a bipartisan approach,” Governor Weerasinghe told an investor forum organized by CT CLSA Securities, Colombo-based brokerage.

“The central bank’s ability to finance the budget deficit will be taken out. Thirdly the flexible inflation targeting regime will be recognized in the law as the framework.”

The law will also make macro-prudential surveillance formally under the bank.

There will be two governing boards, one for the management of the agency and one to conduct monetary policy.

Continue Reading