No need for power outages in February: PUCSL

  • Notes that electricity demand can be ‘managed’

BY Pamodi Waravita

Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said yesterday (31 January) that the demand for electricity can be “managed” in the month of February, and that as such, there is no need for scheduled power outages.

“We reviewed the power plants and the fuel stocks that are required for them on a daily basis. Based on the results of those reviews, we decided that there is no need for a power interruption. Unit Three of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, which was undergoing renovation, has recommenced the generation and supply of power. Also, the 130 megawatts (MW) Sojitz Power Plant, which was recently disconnected from the national grid for maintenance purposes, will resume generation from tomorrow (2 February). The Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery has received crude oil and has already started the process of refining the fuel required for the power plants in the future. As a result, it has been confirmed that the power supply can be maintained uninterrupted,” said Ratnayake in a statement issued in this regard yesterday.

He said that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had, on 24 January, requested permission for scheduled power outages from 25 January to 4 February. Accordingly, the PUCSL had convened meetings every three or four days in order to review whether scheduled power outages are needed.

“It is estimated that a loss of around Rs. 31 billion may have occurred in the entire economy if the proposed power interruption was approved. We were able to save Rs. 31 billion by preventing a power interruption. It has been confirmed that a continuous supply of electricity can be provided without any power interruption even at the beginning of February. The Advanced Level (A/L) examination is scheduled to take place next month. An uninterrupted power supply should be provided in order to hold the examination successfully,” Ratnayake added.

The CEB said yesterday that the Sapugaskanda B Power Plant’s operations were restricted to only be used during the night time peak hours as it was facing an inadequate fuel supply whilst the privately run Kelanitissa Sojitz Power Plant is still shut down due to repairs. However, 300 MW of the Norochcholai Power Plant’s Unit Three were added to the national power grid yesterday, following over a month of not conducting its operations. It faced a breakdown during the first week of December 2021, leading the CEB to rely on its hydropower reserves and expensive furnace and diesel stocks to run fuel-powered power plants. Following this, Sri Lanka has been grappling with a fuel crisis this month, amidst the ongoing US dollar crisis. A report about the breakdown is expected in February.