Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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60,000 MT of coal will reach Sri Lanka on Friday; Norochcholai to run on full capacity from Sunday

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Power and Energy said that a shipment of 60,000 MT of coal will reach the country on Friday (6).

The Ministry said that another five coal shipments are expected to reach Sri Lankan shores in January and payments for the fives shipments have already been made.

The generator at the Norochcholai Power Plant that was the shutdown for maintenance will be reactivated on Sunday (8), said the Ceylon Electricity Board.

One generator at the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant was shut down on the 22nd of December 2022 citing early maintenance and resulted in the loss of 300 MW to the national power grid.

In the midst of all this, a proposal is made to once again increase the electricity tariff.

According to the country’s Power & Energy Minister the objective of this tariff hike is to cover the cost of providing a continuous supply of electricity.

One of the scenarios presented by the CEB engineers will be used for this purpose, and according to the Minister the generation plan is as follows:

27% from hydro-power
28% from Coal
13% from Diesel and Furnace Oil
2% Wind Power
12% from Private Diesel or Furnace Oil Power Plants.
13% from Solar power plants
4% from rooftop solar panels

The CEB Employees’ Union allege that this is an attempt to reduce the low cost production using coal, and to increase the production that would cost more.

According to them, it only costs Rs. 47/- to generate one unit of electricity using coal.

However, if Diesel is used to generating one unit of electricity, the cost would be north of Rs. 100/-.

The cost to generate one unit of electricity using furnace oil is Rs. 65/-.

Therefore, an additional cost will have to be borne after electricity generation using coal is reduced, and the missing capacity is sourced using fuel and from privately-owned power plants.

One generator at the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant was shut down citing early maintenance, however, the decision came due to the delay in procuring coal.

The electricity capacity that was lost by shutting down the generator is now being sourced from the West Coast Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya which uses Furnace Oil to generate electricity.

If this generator is shut down until the date that a coal shipment is due to arrive in Sri Lanka, the additional cost to provide electricity is a whopping Rs. 3.2 Billion.

The Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Janaka Ratnayake on Thursday (5) said that the PUCSL it is not considering any tariff hike at the moment.

He suggested the Government to look into actual financial data of the Ceylon Electricity Board to improve the cash-flow management.

He also slammed the presentation made to the Cabinet on the proposed electricity tariff hike noting that the presentation was made by new general manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board, an engineer and the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, completely disregarding the proper procedure.

He said if the cabinet goes ahead with the proposed tariff hike, the PUCSL will use its power to VETO such a decision.

Rashika Hennayake

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