Sri Lanka prepared for power crisis in 2017: Minister


(c) Rehman Abubakr

Jan 16, 2017 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's power minister says that steps have been taken to face the hydro power generation loss due to the record drought in 2016. Nevertheless, consumers are advised to conserve electricity. "We have only 36 percent capacity in our Randenigala, Victoria, Samanala ... reservoirs because of the drought and this dry spell is expected to continue on for another 3-4 even 5 months according to our meteorological officials," Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, minister of power and renewable energy, said. "Sri Lanka's main South East monsoon from May to August failed with very little rain recorded and the North East monsoon was delayed until mid-December bring in around half the rainfall compared to last year." Siyambalapitiya says that the ministry is prepared for this challenge to ensure uninterrupted power supply. "We have already informed the President and the cabinet of this issue and a five member cabinet sub-committee has been appointed that meets weekly and we have already adviced them on the steps that need to be taken to ensure an uninterrupted power supply in the next few months," he said. "But the people also have a responsibility, they should use electricity sparingly. If a house hold uses one bulb less then we can save 25 megawatts. Sri Lankans should use and conserve water and also electricity." Also a new circular will be brought in soon to manage power usage effectively which will include air conditioners being regulated to run at 26 degrees, he added. Sri Lanka’s cabinet has decided to purchase 60 megawatts of power through an open international competitive bidding process for a short term period of six months starting from February, last week. This 60MW is to be installed at three or more suitable locations to ease the transmission constraints that has arisen in the Central and Southern Provinces. The cabinet approval has also been received to extend the expired agreement periods of three furnace oil power plants for six months.
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