Sri Lanka power failure worst in history: chairman

Oct 10, 2009 (LBO) – Three consecutive failures of Sri Lanka’s power grid has raised new questions about the reliability of the island’s distribution system, but officials say there will be a probe to examine ways to reduce future blackouts. The immediate cause of the failure seemed to be a cable break in a key 132,000 volt transmission line in the capital Colombo from Kolonnawa to the Kelanitissa power complex at Sri Lanka’s state run power firm, Ceylon Electricity Board.

Why?

“We cannot say whether it was due to lack of proper maintenance, or natural causes or due to ageing,” CEB chairman E Edirisinghe told reporters at a hastily called media briefing where he tendered an apology to the utilities’ customers.

“We are not ruling out any possibility. A full inquiry will be conducted in the future.”

The first failure had occurred at 1.30 am on Friday and the entire system tripped. In recent years the entire system had shown a tendency to trip, but engineers had managed to restore the system within about three hours in the past.

“After the first total blackout we started restoring the supply,” says CEB general manager Badra Jayaweera.

“But there was a problem of a circuit breaker at the Kotmale po