By Thameenah Razeek
No power outages will be imposed during off-peak hours after the Indian Oil Corporation today (31), agreed to supply 6,000 MT of fuel to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Chairman of the CEB, M.M.C. Ferdinando said.
Therefore, power outages will not be imposed between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Ferdinando also said if the diesel shipment is released on 1 April, power outages can be reduced to 4 hours.
Minister of Energy Pavithra Wanniarachchi also expressed confidence about reducing the number of power outage hours beginning 2 April, as a shipment of diesel is en route to Sri Lanka.
She said the shipment is arriving under the Indian Credit Line and that it will be released by 1 April night.
“A diesel shipment from India under a US$ 500 million Credit Line is expected to arrive on Saturday (2 April). We will be able to reduce load shedding hours once the ship arrives, but power outages will have to continue until we receive rains, which are expected in May. There is nothing else we can do,” Wanniarachchi explained.
Speaking to the media yesterday (31 March) at the Presidential Media Centre, she said if fuel, including diesel and furnace oil, is continuously supplied to them, there will be no power outages and power can be distributed continuously.
Wanniarachchi said hydropower usage has been drastically reduced, and that the thermal power plants are malfunctioning.
The Minister also said that the crisis was exacerbated because hydropower generation fell, and water from dams was used at a higher percentage when the Norochcholai Power Plant malfunctioned for two months.
However, Ferdinando stressed that Sri Lanka has enough coal to power the thermal power plants.
“Thus, we do not have to be concerned about coal or power plants that run on coal. We have a power shortage of 2,850 MW. To meet demand, we signed agreements with three private power plants to supply 200 MW to the national grid earlier also,” Ferdinando explained.
Meanwhile, it is completely false that there will be no power outages to houses of MPs, Wanniarachchi said.
She has also directed the CEB to develop a separate programme to supply electricity only to essential service providers such as hospitals and disconnect from other locations including MPs’ houses.
She said the CEB has cleared 165 power outages and will continue to supply electricity to hospitals, ports, airports, and essential industries 24/7.