Norochcholai breakdown costs taxpayer additional Rs one billion


The ‘further’ breakdown of the 900 mW (3X300 mW) Norochcholai Coal Fired Power Plant (NCFPP) since last Monday (15 August), saw the additional burden to the taxpayer moving closer to the Rs one billion mark to Friday, with the taxpayer having to cough up Rs 996 million in the five consecutive days to Friday (19 August) alone consequently, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) data of Saturday (20 August) showed.

This additional cost to the taxpayer is despite increased power cuts effective from Tuesday (16 August) due to the further breakdown of NCFPP on the previous day, ie last Monday. Subsequently, CEB increased its record daily power cuts by 200 per cent or by three-fold, from one hour to three hours, effective from Tuesday as Sri Lanka has no US dollars to either import the required diesel or to pay independent diesel power producers (IDPPs)/private sector) to ensure uninterrupted power.

If, however, the NCFPP was fully functional, it has the capacity to meet 45 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity demand. But more often than not, NCPP is malfunctional, with a 300 mW plant of it being malfunctional at least since 27 June, ie for 55 days to Friday and now, another of its 300 mW plants malfunctional since last Monday, resulting in NCPP being able to provide only 300 mW of power on a daily basis since last Monday.

Consequently, coal provided only 15.96 per cent (6.51 giga Watt hours (gWh)) of Sri Lanka’s total electricity consumption of 40.79 gWh of Friday, 15.80 per cent (6.5 gWh) of the country’s total electricity consumption of 41.13 gWh of Thursday, 15.75 per cent (6.51 gWh) of the island’s total electricity consumption on the previous day on Wednesday (41.34 gWh), Tuesday 16.05 per cent (6.5 gWh) and last Monday, 16.17 per cent (6.66 gWh), respectively. Sri Lanka consumed a total of 40.5 gWh of electricity on Tuesday, while last Monday it was 41.18 gWh.

Meanwhile, last Sunday (14 August), with 600 mW (2X300 mW) out of 900 mW of NCFPP functional, NCFPP met 33.97 per cent (12.32 gWh) of Sri Lanka’s total electricity demand on that day. Last Sunday Sri Lanka consumed a total of 36.27 gWh of electricity.

Paneetha Ameresekere