Hydropower contributes 30% to national grid after rains

  • Maussakelle and Castlereagh catchment areas replenished

BY Pamodi Waravita

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said yesterday (10) that electricity generation for the national grid using hydropower has increased to about 29% of total demand due to the heavy rainfall experienced over the weekend.

“With the rains, hydropower generation has increased to about 29% now, which is a big relief. We saw a good inflow of rain to our water reserves in the last two days, but it is not enough to get us out of the woods yet,” CEB Spokesperson Andrew Nawamani told The Morning yesterday.

In a statement to the media yesterday, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said that the heavy showers islandwide would “enhance the capacity to generate more hydro power”.

The Maussakelle and Castlereagh catchment areas, which provide water to the Wimalasurendra, Laxapana, New Laxapana, and Polpitiya hydropower plants, have been receiving heavy downpour since last Friday (8) afternoon.

Water reserves had drastically reduced during this year’s dry season, hampering the generation of electricity using hydropower. Alongside this, a series of issues has plagued the country’s energy-related sector since the beginning of the year. Since January 2022, the CEB has been struggling to find fuel for its thermal power stations, as the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), which imports fuel, has been throttled by the forex shortage in the country. Ultimately, the Sri Lankan public has been forced to endure lengthy power cuts that sometimes last even up to 13 hours per day.

Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) President Anil Ranjith, speaking to The Morning last month, said that power cuts are likely to continue despite expected rains due to the fuel shortage in the country.

The PUCSL, announcing the power cut schedule for this week, said that a four-hour cut will be imposed today (11) and tomorrow (12), while there will be no power outages on 13 and 14 April. Power cuts will last two hours and 30 minutes on 15 and 16 April each.