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Power breakdown in November: CID commences probe

05 Dec 2021

  • CEB complains to CID about alleged sabotage
  • Breakdown was only a technical fault: CEBEU
By Yoshitha Perera  The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has commenced a probe into a complaint filed by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) over a suspected act of sabotage that had caused a power breakdown in many parts of the country last Monday (29 November). Police Media Spokesperson Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Attorney-at-Law Nihal Thalduwa told The Sunday Morning that the CID was recording statements from officials and engineers at the CEB regarding the complaint filed by the CEB management about the power outage last Monday. “The Police had not received any complaint with regard to the islandwide power outage that occurred on 3 December (Friday). However, the CID investigation had already commenced with regard to the previous complaint filed by the CEB,” he said.  Thalduwa noted that a special CID team had been deployed to investigate the incident and that said team was recording statements and commencing observations at the relevant sites. Disputing the statements issued by the CEB and the Government over a possible act of sabotage being the cause for the said breakdown, CEB Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) Secretary Dhammika Wimalaratne said that the power cuts experienced last Monday in many parts of Sri Lanka were a result of a technical issue experienced on the transmission cables from Kotmale to the Biyagama Grid Substation, according to the CEB. He said the previous power outage affected grid substations in Biyagama, Kotugoda, Habarana, Galle, Matara, Pannipitiya, Ratmalana, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kurunegala, Kiribathkumbura, Athurugiriya, Kosgama, and Sapugaskanda. The CEBEU denied that the breakdown was a result of an act of sabotage. In regard to the most recent islandwide power outage that occurred last Friday (3), CEB Engineer Wimalaratne said it occurred due to the failure of two units at the Norochcholai Power Plant, and one unit at Sapugaskanda. “People will have to endure islandwide power outages on and off during the next three to four days, owing to load shedding, but these cuts will only last one-and-a-half hours in each area,” he said. He estimated that it would take up to three days for the Norochcholai Power Plant to return to its full capacity. Wimalaratne added that this outage was not a result of sabotage, and added that the engineers faced difficulties in resolving the problem. The CEBEU suspended its work-to-rule campaign following last Friday’s islandwide power breakdown.

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