Manage Power Crisis without Daily Outages

Electricity power outages and candle light

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has instructed the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to deal with the power crisis without daily power outages for the next three months.

The PUCSL has thoroughly assessed the CEB’s application for power cuts from February to April, and the latter has been directed to develop a mandatory action plan to ensure uninterrupted power supply rather than letting routine power cuts cause inconveniences to the public.

Addressing the Media yesterday (15), PUCSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said it is certain that power outages could be avoided by following these essential processes.

“The PUCSL is unwilling to take any action that would inconvenience the public. To address the current problem, we have issued a set of measures that must be implemented in order to reduce hydropower generation by 50 per cent from today and limit daily maximum generation to one gigatonne hour. As a result, hydropower plants will produce only 5GW hours of electricity every day. Then we can regulate the amount of water available over the following three months, as well as electricity generation at the hydropower plants, until it rains. As a second obligatory step, the CEB should take efforts to require companies to use generators. If a power outage is required, the CEB should disconnect wholesale generator consumers from the national grid,” he said.

Speaking further, he stressed that the CEB is also paying for enterprises that use their own generators and are taking initiatives to lower the demand for 300 MW of electricity to the national grid.

The chairman also disclosed about steps that have been taken to obtain uninterrupted fuel for the power plants.

“When power plants run out of fuel or become inactive, power outages occur. We spoke with Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila about obtaining fuel for the CEB so that they are not removed from the power grid for any reason other than an emergency. He promised to give the CEB a fuel tanker at no extra cost.

The Central Bank has also agreed to supply the necessary money for fuel importation. As a result, the CEB will be able to directly import diesel and other commodities needed for electricity generation without having to rely on the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation if needed in future. This approach will also aid in the prevention of power outages,” he said.

Following the mandatory procedure outlined above, uninterrupted power supply can be provided over these three months, eliminating the need to purchase emergency electricity, Ratnayake reiterated.

He stressed that the public, as well as private and public institutions, must work together to tackle the current power crisis without any room for power outages.

“At this time, strict security measures can be implemented to decrease power waste and prevent power outages. In addition, between 2.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m., all government agencies should turn off their air conditioners to ensure an uninterrupted power supply. The public should also contribute as much as possible through the electricity conservation programme. Local governments were given directives to cut their power use by 80 per cent. Conclusions about the future supply of energy have been formed based on the assumptions that power plants will continue to get the required amount of fuel and that power plants will not fail,” he noted.

The PUCSL said that in the future, if a power station of more than 200 MW capacity malfunctions, a power cut of one hour will have to be imposed.

Ratnayake went on to say that if a power station’s capacity is 300 MW, the daily power cut should be around an hour and a half, and if it is more than 400 MW, the power cut should be about two and a half hours.

“However, such power cuts can be avoided by strictly adhering to the PUCSL’s directions issued to the CEB and stringent conservation measures,” he stated.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Thameenah Razeek)