Emergency power purchases from private sector

Electricity power outages and candle light

The Government is set to rush into emergency power purchases from the private sector to overcome the current power crisis, despite previous claims that it would not resort to such action.

Accordingly, the Power and Energy Ministry and the Ceylon Electricity Board have held talks to buy 50MW from Asia Power in Sapugaskanda , 24MW from ACE Power in Matara and 30MW from Northern Power, CEB officials said.

In addition, talks are also underway to buy 100MW from independent power producers with whom contracts had earlier been made and terminated.

The Government is also to call for tenders for the setting up of four furnace-oil operated power plants of 24MW each.

The ministry is also looking at the possibility of setting up a barge mounted plant to produce 100MW.

Meanwhile, the Power and Energy Ministry will also propose further measures to control power consumption during the next three months.

Under a programme titled ‘Demand-side management’ Ministries and private sector companies will be asked to use their own generators without depending on supplies from the CEB. Accordingly, the CEB hopes to save about 200MW a day.

Currently, the CEB is generating about 100MW a day from the Laxapana and Samanalawewa hydropower stations, while a smaller quantity of power is also generated from the Mahaweli.

The Randenigala and Rantembe reservoiors are also currently 80 percent full, but the water will be released only after April with the beginning of the cultivation season. This enable the CEB also to use the water for power generation.

CEB engineers said the power situation would improve if the normal monsoon rains came by May.

(Source: Sunday Times)