Power generation: Norochcholai unit offline without spares

  • 300 MW unit shut down for scheduled maintenance
  • Delay in receiving spares could prolong completion


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa


The Norochcholai Coal Power Plant last week powered down one 300 MW generation unit for scheduled maintenance, despite not having all the necessary spare parts needed to complete the work at hand, The Sunday Morning learns.  

If all the spares do not arrive on time, there is a high risk of the completion of maintenance being delayed and as a result, the 300 MW shortage to the power grid may be prolonged, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) engineers warned.

Unit 2 of Lakvijaya Power Plant (LVPP) was shut down for a scheduled major overhaul on 18 June. Generating Unit 2 of Lakvijaya was synchronised to the national grid on 24 January 2014. Up to 31 May 2022, Unit 2 operated for 61,972 hours and produced 16,088 GWh, it is learned. Each year, the unit has contributed approximately 10-15% of the country’s electricity demand.

According to the CEB, Level A category overhaul of a 300 MW coal-fired steam power plant should be performed after four to six years of its operation, as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. Unit 2 commenced its operation in January 2014 and completed its first Level B overhaul in August 2018. It has been operating for more than eight years since the first date of synchronisation.

The Level A overhaul of Unit 2 has been delayed two years beyond the maximum recommended time duration given by the manufacturer of the plant, due to Covid-19. Therefore, the Level A overhaul should be performed with no further delay to ensure the expected lifetime of the unit (30 years from its first synchronisation), as per the CEB.

Meanwhile, when contacted by The Sunday Morning, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said receiving spare parts was an essential requirement to complete the maintenance on time.

“We are in a very crucial situation. Spares should come on time. We need $ 9 or 10 million for spares. It is a must; $ 9-10 million is vital and they should get together and make this money available,” Ratnayake said.

The work involvement of Level A overhaul is estimated to take 100 days with the involvement of 400 dedicated technical staff. However, on this occasion the overhaul is planned to be completed within 75 days. During the overhaul, it is planned to carry out about 800 activities of all main systems and associated sub systems of the generating unit. 

The overhaul is planned to be carried out with the CEB’s own staff and China’s overhaul expert team.

Meanwhile, when contacted, CEB Chairman Nalinda Ilangakoon said that he was confident that the maintenance would be completed in the planned time frame of 75 days, and that the CEB was making staggered payments for the required spare parts and service to ensure work continued at the required pace.