Sri Lanka power users urge CEB to automate dispatch

Apr 06, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s power users are urging state-run Ceylon Electricity Board to automate decision on connecting generators to match demand to cut costs and dispel suspicions of not having used the lowest cost plant. Generators are now connected and disconnected or ‘dispatched’ manually by the CEB, based on a ‘merit order’ which lists plants from the cheapest to the most expensive.

Costly Decisions

The cost may depend on the duration a plant is operated combined with the start-up charge (the fee to ‘cold start’ a combined cycle plant could run into many millions of rupees), the type of fuel and the unit charge as well as the location.

“If they do not do it properly there will be enormous costs to the consumer,” Jayantha Ranatunga, who chairs a power consumer consultative committee told a public hearing on a proposed tariff hike earlier this week.

“Now we recommend that they use a computerized model to do this. Don’t depend on the human element because humans are not reliable. However capable they are or however honest, they are still not reliable.

“We need a system with a proper audit trail.”

Even now the CEB documents all dispatch decisions, but there is no audit. But electroni