Power cuts inevitable says PUCSL | Sunday Observer

Power cuts inevitable says PUCSL

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), in its continuous efforts to streamline the energy sector of the country, had written to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) earlier this year reminding the CEB that failure to implement major power plants envisages a power crisis starting this year, highly places sources revealed to the Sunday Observer.

“If additions of new power plants are not timely implemented as per the plant schedule given in the approved Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan 2018-2037, the country will definitely face a power crisis,” the letter which was sighted by the Sunday Observer reveals.

According to the letter, three furnace oil fired power plants with capacities of 100 MW, 70 MW and 150 MW that should have been commissioned by January this year has not yet obtained the Commission’s approval to proceed.

Recommendations for tender evaluations for the 300 MW Natural Gas fired combined cycle power plant in Kerawalapitiya, which should be commissioned next year, have not been submitted for the Commission’s approval.

Three 35 MW gas turbines which ideally should be commissioned by the beginning of 2019 and 150 MW natural gas fired combined cycle to be commissioned by 2021 has not seen any progress, the letter indicates.

As an upshot of the failure to implement the above power projects and to ensure that the public is not saddled with routine power cuts the CEB will have no option but opt to short term procurement to full the hap thus compromising reliability and passing the additional cost to the consumers.

However, refuting the allegations of purchasing power at a higher price through short term power purchase agreements, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Dr Suren Batagoda told the Sunday Observer that through renegotiations they have managed to reduce the capacity charge by 67 percent bringing down the purchase price from six rupees to about two rupees.

With the dry spell returning, the Ministry has now resorted to purchase power from private sector.

“By now 270 power plants hydro, wind and solar are and 10 diesel power plants are currently owned by the private sector.

We have extended three agreements by now to purchase power. But we have renegotiated and obtained lesser prices,” Dr Batagoda further added.