Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Two  coal  shipments to sail off  Colombo Port without stock unloading      

Sri Lanka is tottering on the edge of an energy crisis leading to  extension of  current power cut duration  as a result of failing to clear  120,000  metric tonnes of coal for the Norochcholai Lakvijaya  coal-fired power plant , Ceylon Electricity Board(CEB) sources said.

Two shipments of Coal have  already anchored at the Colombo Port  awiting to unload stocks of coal  ordered by CEB since April 12  due to lack of funds  amounting  US$34 to pay for  the, CEB Chiarman M.M.C Ferdinando disclosed.

If the relevant payment is not made by April 18, the ship owners have informed that they would sail off without unloading the cargo.

Thus, the CEB will be liable to pay the demurrages for six days in addition to a hefty penalty.

.There was a difficulty in unloading the Coal power stocks at present during the current high-tide season (April to October) and  therefore the calling for new tenders will have to be delayed till May  next year, he revealed.

The annual requirement of coal to this power station is in the region of 2 million tons and 50 percent of it is purchased by following annual tender procedure and the other 50 percent by emergency spot purchasing system, Mr Ferdinando explained.

CEB Engineers Union has also warned of an imminent power crisis due to coal shortage, price hike in the international market and the reluctance of bidders in applying for coal tenders , US dollar shortage and various other issues in awarding tenders,a spokesman of the union said.  .   

 “As per the terms of the contract, 80% of the payment has to be released upon the submission of shipping documents. 

This payment has not been made so far. All unloading operations of the Lakvijaya Power Plant need to be completed by the fourth week of April due to onset of the monsoon winds. Further, it is not possible to unload any other cargo until the next unloading season starting from September 2022,” the union said.

The existing stock is adequate only up to mid September 2022. If two coal shipments return without unloading the coal consignment before end of April, even with the already planned 75 days outage of unit 2 from June 2022.

Therefore, the CEB will be compelled to shut down one unit of 300 MW at Lakvijaya Power Plant at least for 25 days to utilize the available coal in hand till next coal unloading season commences.

This will severely affect the generating capacity and therefore, extending the existing duration of power cuts would then become inevitable, the union added.

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