Written by Lahiru Fernando
17 Oct, 2016 | 9:32 pm
Daily power cuts have been scheduled across the country as a result of a breakdown in the Norochcholai Power Plant.
One and a half hours – one hour during the day, half an hour during the night, power will be cut off at different times, in different parts of the country. According to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, the cuts will be imposed by dividing the island into eight zones.
The Ministry added that power supply interruptions would not impact the Colombo Municipality, hospitals and industrial zones.
The first generator at the plant broke down due to a fault in the transmission routes around 10:46 a.m on Saturday (October 15). At present all three generators remain inactive.
According to the subject minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, the CEB has said that the first generator (one with the burst pipe) can be operational by Sunday (October 23).
He added that the second generator can be restored by Thursday (October 20) while the third generator will take at least a month to come back on line.
The Norochcholai Lakvijaya Power Plant, the country’s first coal-fired power plant was initiated on May 11, 2006 and the first phase came on line on March 22, 2011, adding 300 Megawatts to the National Grid. By September 16,2014, all three phases had been completed and added 900 megawatts to the National grid.
The power plant was constructed by a Chinese state-owned company at a cost of $1350 million (US).
Breakdowns have been reported at the power plant intermittently since then, with the most recent incident occurring on the 13th of March 2016.
According to the leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, a mechanical engineer had been appointed to look after the machinery. Prof. Vitharana added that however, the electrical engineers acted to have him removed and took over the responsibility, though they lack the knowledge for the task.
Prof. Vitharana says that as a result, proper maintenance is not taking place to ensure the operation of the power plant.
“They are cutting power when people need it the most. Ordinary people do not have generators.”
“What is the meaning of this? Everyday it breaks down and they fix it. Our money is being spent on it.”
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