PUCSL too says power blackout on February 03 could have been avoided

Ceylon Electricity Board - Sri Lanka

The power blackout, on 03 February, could have been avoided, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator has said in a special investigation report titled, “Report on Rotational Load Shedding Carried Out on February 03”, released yesterday.

The PUCSL observes that the system had enough capacity to cater to the full demand during the period of load shedding and that with the West Coast resuming generation after 3 pm, the total demand during the day could have been fully met. The power cuts went on until 5 pm.

The PUCSL has added that even in the worst case scenario, i. e. in the absence of the West Coast power plant, demand could have been met with limited shedding (approximately 105 MW) maximum two hours during the night peak.

The reports says: “The need to shed load during night peak due to the absence of West Coast power plant may have been avoided or lessened by shifting the Kotmale operation to the night peak period. Even under the shifting of Kotmale operation to the night peak period did not have any apparent impact on supplying the actual demand (without shedding load) during the period from 1045 hrs to 1702 hrs, since adequate generation was present to meet the demand during this period.”

On Wednesday, a six-member committee appointed by the Power and Energy Minister to look into the electricity blackout submitted its report, condemning the CEB for gathering /System Control Centre data manually. The committee observed that two versions of generation summary on the 4th Feb. 2020, which is critically connected to the incident on the 3rd Feb. 2020 and the significant discrepancy observed between the Day Ahead Economic Dispatch and the Actual System Dispatch data.

Therefore, the committee has recommended an efficient computerized information management system. Further, the committee has asked the CEB to make optimum use of the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems for all power plants in the country, whose information can be used in real-time by the CEB/System Control Center to optimise the generation subjected to cost, availability and other constraints.

“Apparently the system had enough capacity to supply the full demand during the period of load shedding,” the report says in its observations.

The report was prepared following the inquiries and complaints of consumers received by PUCSL on the day of the interruption and to avoid such events happening in the future.

(Source: The Island)