Short-term power cuts likely islandwide | Sunday Observer

Short-term power cuts likely islandwide

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is likely to impose short-term power cuts islandwide if the water levels in hydro power reservoirs do not improve in the coming days, CEB sources said.

Despite the rains in the past several days, the reservoir water levels have barely increased to meet the demand of hydro power stations, he said adding that the intended power cuts will not be as severe as in March. The average water levels of the six main reservoirs stood at 31.3 percent by last week, insufficient for hydro power generation. The water in the reservoirs was being retained for drinking and irrigation purposes.

CEB Director, Development, Sulakshana Jayawardena denied that there were discussions on the scheduled power interruptions by the CEB. He said the thermal power stations were in full use and the current demand for power was between 32 GWh - 35 GWh. “I think we can manage with the current supply but consumers must conserve energy,” he said.

CEB officials were in a quandary last week because Power, Energy and Business Development Minister Ravi Karunanayake who came in for heavy flak by his political rivals during the March power cuts apprehensive of imposing power cuts again despite another crisis in the CEB due to insufficient rain.

“But if we don’t have sufficient rain, it would be difficult to maintain an uninterrupted power supply in the country,” the sources said. A team of engineers has been appointed to review a Cabinet proposal by Minister Karunanayake to retain the services of a Turkish barge for three years as a mid term solution to tide over the power crisis.

The Cabinet is willing to hire the barge for six months to resolve the current power crisis but it was told that the company which owned the barge had no plans to rent it for less than three years.

The Minister received the Cabinet nod last week to purchase 100MW of supplementary emergency power from three private companies but the proposal to hire the barge has been put on hold. The 100 MW of supplementary power is expected to be added to the national grid by the end of this month.

The Meteorological Department has forecast fairly heavy showers in the Sabaragamuwa, Central, Southern, Uva, Western and North-western provinces including Sunday.