Costs tax payer Rs 1.71B in 11 days

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The taxpayer will have had incurred an additional cost of at least Rs 1.71 billion In the 11 days to Thursday (25 August) because of the burning of the expensive diesel to provide electricity to the country due to the malfunctioning of two of the 300 MW machines of the 900 MW (3X 300 mW) Norochcholai Coal Fired Powered Plant (NCFPP) since 15 August, Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB’s) Friday’s (26 August) data showed. Such additional costs on Thursday alone amounted to at least Rs 0.13 billion.

Since the breakdown of the second 300 MW NCFPP machine on 15 August, the consumer has to suffer record power cuts which were increased from one hour to three hours beginning from 16 August. The first of such three NCFPP machines have been out of order since 27 June. Since 15 August, only one of three NCFPP machines has been functioning, providing only 300 MW of electricity.

All costs are based on last year’s estimates, where, according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), it cost the CEB Rs 10.87 to manufacture one unit (one kilo Watt hour (kWh)) of “coal electricity”, Rs 29.01 to manufacture one unit of “diesel electricity” and Rs 30.35 to buy one unit of “diesel electricity” from the private sector/independent power producers (IPPs). According to the CBSL, last year, the second most cheapest mode of electricity generation was coal, while the most expensive was “IPP diesel” and the second most expensive, “CEB diesel.” Meanwhile, the cheapest source of electricity generation was “CEB hydroelectricity,” which, according to CBSL, cost the CEB a mere Rs 1.67 per unit last year.

By Paneetha Ameresekere