PUCSL calls for report on unscheduled power cut

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The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) ordered the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to submit a report on the unscheduled power interruptions on 9 June, on or before 18 July 2022.

The PUCSL report stated that the CEB had discontinued the Sojitz and Westcoast power plants out of the schedule on 9 June 2022 and incurred an additional estimated cost of Rs 320 million.

The PUCSL has informed the General Manager of the CEB on the unscheduled power interruptions and also sent a report stating the recommendation of the Commission.

The letter stated that Condition 30(1) of the Electricity Transmission and Bulk Supply License No. EL/T/09-002 issued to CEB, clearly stipulates that the licensee shall jointly and severally as one of the Licensees ensure that the Licensees will together provide for and maintain a coordinated, efficient, and economical system of electricity generation, transmission, and supply within Sri Lanka at all times.

“But, the transmission licensee has violated this condition by carrying out unscheduled power interruptions without the approval of the Commission on 9 June 2022,” the letter stated.

The PUCSL also recommended an inquiry about the failure to operate the Wimalasurendra, Canyon, Old Laxapana, New Laxapana, Polpitiya, Upper Kotmale, Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe, Ukuwela and Bowatenna power plants as scheduled from 12.00 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. on 9 June 2022.

The third recommendation is about the operation of the Sojitz and Westcoast power plants out of the schedule and incurring a cost of Rs 320 million.

The report stated that the PUCSL has received many complaints from numerous areas of the country regarding power outages beyond the approved interruption schedule, between 4.30am to 8.30am on 9 June 2022.

Nevertheless, the Power System Report on 9 June 2022 submitted by the CEB has not mentioned anything regarding the aforesaid outages, but has mentioned that 18 Grid Substations and the Samanalawewa Power Station were ‘dead’ due to tripping of three transmission lines at 6.41 am. and restored at 7.41 am.

As per the comparison of the plantwise schedule and actual dispatch on 9 June, it was observed that, Canyon, Wimalasurendra and Bowatenna plants have not been used at all from 12.00 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. on 9 June, despite them being scheduled to run during the said period.

The Old Laxapana, New Laxapana, Polpitiya and Victoria Plants have been shut down between the period of 1.45a.m. – 3.15a.m. and started dispatching between 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 a.m., despite having them scheduled to be dispatched between 1.45 a.m. – 12.00 a.m. on 9 June.

The PUCSL has concluded that in this context, the CEB has failed to serve the electricity demand from 4.30 am to 8.45 am on 9 June 2022 due to stoppage of hydro generation and as a result the unplanned load shedding has been imposed to prevent the system collapse.

It also said that the CEB has failed to dispatch hydro plants including Wimalasurendra, Canyon, Old Laxapana, New Laxapana, Polpitiya and Upper Kotmale from 12 am to 2.30 pm on 9 June 2022 as scheduled in the day ahead dispatch schedule submitted on 8 June 2022.

BY Thameenah Razeek