Divine Intervention

June 6, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state electricity utility warned that power cuts would be imposed if monsoon rains do not come in the next two weeks to boost its hydro storage capacity. It engineers have warned the media last month that another unsuitable 300 MegaWatt thermal plant is being forced on the utility with Japanese aid. “Our hydro storage capacity is down to 482 GigaWatthours (GWh),” Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) General Manager Ranjith Pulleperuma told reporters.

The CEB imposes power cuts or load shedding when hydro storage reaches a floor of 400 GWh or 400 million units of electricity.

The islands main South West Monsoon season usually lasts from May to August, but the monsoonal winds had not commenced yet.

In order to prevent power cuts next year the utility also has to end the year with at least 1,000 GWh of energy this year.

Power sector analysts say with the monsoons already delayed the possibility of boosting hydro storage above that limit now seems slim.

CEB’s engineers had warned in the first quarter that the utility should advertise for additional diesel generating capacity to cater to demand late this year and early next year, before a c