Intermittent power outages continue due to malfunction of Norochcholai generator 2

Intermittent power outages continue due to malfunction of Norochcholai generator 2

Written by Staff Writer

19 Mar, 2019 | 10:23 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Attempts to add the power generated by the second generator at the Norochcholai power plant to the national grid has so far been unsuccessful. The Ceylon Electricity Board says that as a result, the supply of electricity may have to be curtailed. Media spokesperson of the ministry Sulakshana Jayawardena said that steps are underway to restart the generator.

A technical failure caused a breakdown in the second generator at the Norochcholai power plant at 11 am yesterday (March 18). The malfunction resulted in the loss of 270 MW of power to the national grid and caused power outages in certain areas of the country.

The supply of electricity was disrupted in a number of areas including the districts of Galle, Kaluthara, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, and Trincomalee. The livelihoods of many of locals living in these areas have been impacted by the prevalent situation.

There are 2 institutions in this country with the highest number of engineers. One of them is SriLankan Airlines, but of course, the entire country knows the exact position of this loss-making institution.

The other institution interestingly is the Ceylon Electricity Board. There are a number of trade union organizations within the Ceylon Electricity Board as well. However, the issue at hand is the fact that the breakdown of one of the three generators at the Norochcholai power plant is causing blackouts island-wide and has disrupted the lives of many hard-working Sri Lankans most of them who work for daily wages or run their own businesses.

The power crisis in the country has its own history beginning in the 1900s where the people in the country had to experience mandatory power cuts on a regular basis, and since then the governments that came and went had resorted to the purchase of power from private power plants. The result of this ordeal is the people of this country being burdened with the exorbitant prices that have to be paid for the purchase of power from these private power stations.

This trend of purchasing power from private power generators was continued for reasons that obviously points towards corruption at the CEB. One representative of a trade union recently speaking to media said that about 50% of the money paid by electricity consumers of the country is simply being used to pay the sins of the massive corruption that takes place at the CEB.

The Norochcholai power plant was constructed at a cost of US$ 1.45 Billion and was completed only in the year 2014. But since then the Ceylon Electricity Board has not taken steps to construct a power plant of its own.

It was stressed time and time again that there need to be more power plants in the country to meet the growing demand for power on the island. It is as clear as water that if these proposals were taken seriously and implemented Sri Lanka wouldn’t be facing the power crisis that we are facing today.

Recently a proposal was also approved to incorporate power generated through generators at public institutions. This was cited as a low-cost alternative to address the power crisis in the country as opposed to the highly expensive option of purchasing power from private power plants. This proposal has not been implemented as yet.

During a press briefing held recently, we saw Lanka Transformers Limited (LTL) pulling in one direction, the subject minister pulling in another direction, the ministry secretary taking an entirely different stance and the PUSL on adifferent page, all the while the general public of this country stands in the dark helpless.

In July 2017 the secretary to the ministry of power and renewable energy Dr. Suren Batagoda sends a letter recommending the construction of certain power plants to meet the energy demand of the country. Notably with the exception of one all the other power plants mentioned in this list are private power plants.

The CEB has barely any power plants under its purview, and their actions clearly show that they prefer to continue on the path of purchasing power from private power plants at exorbitant prices. Dr. Suren Batagoda is the person who endorsed this letter while he was the secretary to the ministry of power and renewable energy even under the previous regime, but this proposal has not been implemented nor has the CEB found a viable solution to the power crisis that the general public of this country are suffering tremendously.

While the government is promoting the use of electric cars for the country and even recently inking an agreement for the construction of an electric railway system from Malabe to Colombo, the inability of public officers among other reasons have caused the power crisis in the country to worsen. If responsible officials cannot perform their duties properly and provide essential services to the public. Some good advice how they should act is in a quote from media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner ‘Do something, either lead, follow or move out of the way’.

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