Sri Lanka CEB pressured by poor rainfall

Feb 13, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run power utility is under pressure from poor rainfall, but it is hoping to weather the dry season in the first quarter with higher reliance on thermal energy, an official said. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), which has hydro storage of 1,200 GigaWatt hours (1,200 million units) started 2008 with 800 GWh of storage, with the North-East monsoon effectively ‘failing’ compared to previous years.

Failed Rains

“But this year we started with 600 GigaWatt hours and after January we have not had much rains in January and February unlike last year,” CEB general manager Badra Jayaweera told LBO.

In 2008, the utility had maintained hydro storage of above 700GWh even into February.

But in 2009 storage had fallen to about 440 GWh by the second week of February.

Jayaweera says the utility is hoping to tide over the dry season by using its thermal capacity and expected inter-monsoonal rains in March.

If rains are poor in March industry analysts say the utility would face a tight situation in meeting the night peak without disrupting supply.

CEB now has an installed thermal capacity of 1250 MegaWatts and 1,100MW of hydro capacity. However not al