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CPC fuel supply, deciding factor for Sri Lanka’s main power outages

Feb 26, 2020 (LBO) – Continuous fuel supply from Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has become the principal deciding factor for an uninterrupted power supply in Sri Lanka, a recent report highlighted.

According to the latest power outage report of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), exceeded credit limits have left the CPC with no other option but to halt the fuel supply to thermal plants.

Detailing the reasons for the power outage that occurred on 03 February 2020 for which the CEB described it as an unplanned activity, stressed that if they are unable to ensure the operation of thermal plants (CEB & IPP), there is a possibility of repeating the similar scenario of manual load shedding (power cuts).

On the same day after the CEB started manual load shedding, the Power Ministry announced that a planned two-hour power cut was temporarily suspended after the minister’s instruction to the CPC to continue fuel supply to Kerawalapitiya power station.

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera currently heads the Power & Energy Ministry which falls under both CPC and CEB making him the easier one to make such a decision.

The CEB, however, has urged the government to address this issue facing the power supply of the country and they are yet to receive a lasting solution to the crisis as the continuation of fuel supply from CPC is not going to resolve the core issue.

In the last five years, the electricity demand in the country has increased by 27 percent but electricity generation has not increased and as a result, the CEB is making hefty power purchases from IPPs.

According to the minister, the government has decided to commence the construction of 300 MW capacity Kerawalapitiya LNG power plant this year though the construction was originally scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Adding a new plant will cut down current electricity purchases through Independent Power Producers (IPP) at high prices.

This LNG plant is expected to add 300MW to the national grid within the next two years; until such time the vicious cycle is expected to be repeated.

Since the dry period has been started, the daily inflow has become very low and the hydro storage depleting every day. But it is compulsory to conserve available hydro potential until the next South-West monsoon expected in May.

The amount of water available at Mahaweli reservoirs has also to be carefully managed as instructed by Water Management Secretariat (WMS).

Investigation report from the CEB on the two to two and half hour power cuts that carried out on 03 Feb 2020 impacted many parts


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