Water Boost

Jan 21 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s power utility is heading into the dry season with its reservoirs full, translating into savings on expensive thermal bills and no power shortages on the cards.

Last week, Victoria, the country’s largest reservoir, spilled for the first time in over five years, and water levels are topping 80 percent at the start of the dry season in February.

Storage capacity in all six main reservoirs topped the 1000GWh (Giga Watt hour) mark early this month – enough water to generate 1000 million units of electricity.

Full tanks should mean the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is able shift at least part of daily demand away from expensive thermal power plants, bringing down generation costs.

The CEB says savings of Rs. 6 to Rs. 10 can be made on each unit not generated by diesel oil. Oil purchases have come down in December following strong hydro inflows, CEB officials said.

“We are starting positive and we are on a better footing even if we have a drought in 2006. We will be able to pull through the dry season. Even if there are hiccups in the thermal generation, we can depend on this,” a senior CEB official said.

The utility has unpaid bills to t