Sri Lanka's only coal plant generated about 5.9-6.0 GigaWatt hours (millions of units) of energy a day or about 20 percent of the country's daily requirement of 30-32 GWh.
Though Sri Lanka has a large hydro generation reserve, water levels are down to about 26 percent of total amid the worst drought in a decade and the plants are needed for a night peak.
The outage of coal plant was the straw that broke the camel's back, as two other large thermal plants are also out. A 270MW heavy fuel combined cycle plant in Kerawalapitiya is only running its 170MW 'open cycle' or gas turbine component pending repairs.
A 60MW GT 7 gas turbine has been stopped for scheduled maintenance for some time.
There is a 24MW private plant owned by Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence that is currency idling, as its power purchase agreement has run out.Industry analysts say it could be run a so-called 'merchant plant' if the firm does not hold out for a fixed capacity charge. As a merchant plant, or a smaller capacity charge it would be cheaper to operate than CEB's gas turbines.