Power interruptions as CPC suspends fuel supply to CEB

Electricity power outages and candle light

The Power and Energy Ministry yesterday said that there is a possibility of a one-hour power cut in some parts of the country due to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) suspending fuel supply to the thermal power plants while Trade Unions claiming that power outages may extend to two to three hours from today.

A Power and Energy Ministry spokesman said inadequate fuel supply to the thermal power plants to generate electricity is the main cause for the power outage.

It is revealed there is a shortage of 150 megawatts of electricity in the main grid.

Measures are being taken to secure the balance of the prevailing electricity and the power distribution process functions within the system until the total is capacity restored,” he added.

He further said that discussions are going on by the relevant authorities to provide an uninterrupted power supply with immediate effect.

Meanwhile,Treasurer of the Executive Officers Union of the CPC Engineer Manu Jayawardena told the Daily News that the the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has exceeded their credit limit with their accounts maintained at the CPC.

The amount exceeds over Rs. 80 billion as of today,”. “The CEB maintains 10 such accounts at the CPC which is operated on the PRP system. When the amount owed exceeds this limit, the system automatically cuts down on its losses.” Jayawardena said that although this was a technical issue, it is only because of the CEB’s ‘bad financial mismanagement’.

“The CEB had been making routine payments but since of late the payment has aggregated,” he said adding that he believes payments had not been made for over six months.

Earlier yesterday, residents from Dehiwala and Wellawatte had complained of unannounced power outages. “When we called the CEB we were told to expect severe power outages in the coming days due to the curtailment in supply of oil from CPC,” a resident said.

“The CEB must pay for the fuel they have procured,” Eng. Jayawardena said. “These are unannounced power cuts which are also illegal. The Public Utilities Commission must approve power outages which has to be communicated to the consumer beforehand,” Jayawardena said.

It is reliably learnt that high level discussions were taking place late yesterday evening by ministry officials and the CEB to enhance the credit limit or make payments by this morning.

Malaka Wickremasinghe of the CEB workers Union told the Daily News that they have been informed of scheduled one hour power cuts daily but adds that it will take longer than an hour.

(Source: Daily News – By Irangika Range and Rukshana Rizwie)