CEB makes generation profit of Rs 1.9B in five days

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The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) made a generation profit of a minimum of Rs 1,914.8 million in the five days to Thursday (8 September) aided by the cheap and clean ‘CEB Hydroelectricity Generation’ (CEBHG), CEB data of  Friday (9 September) showed. All costs are computed according to CEB’s last year’s average tariffs and generation costs, according to Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL’s) 2021 Annual Report. Transmission losses are discounted in this calculation.

Meanwhile, CEB’s generation profits in the five days to Thursday alone could have had been increased by 0.61 per cent (Rs 11.6 million) to Rs 1,926.4 million if the 900 MW  Norochcholai Coal Fired Power Plant (NCFPP) was fully functional, statistics also  revealed.

In related developments, CEBHG alone provided 57.41 per cent (22.96 Giga Watt hours (GWh)) of the total 39.99 GWh of electricity generated on Thursday. The cost of one unit (one kilo Watt hour (KWh)) of CEBHG was the cheapest for the CEB last year at Rs 1.67 a unit, CBSL data further showed, while the most expensive was ‘CEB Diesel’ at Rs 32.03 a unit. The second-most cheapest source of electricity generation was ‘CEB Coal’ at Rs 10.68 a unit, while the second most expensive was Independent Power Producers (IPP) or Private Sector Diesel at Rs 30.35 a unit.

 Meanwhile, CEB generated 0.14 GWh (ie 0.35 per cent of the total) of electricity by burning ‘CEB Diesel’ at a cost of Rs 4.5 million and a further 0.02 GWh (0.05 per cent) of electricity by buying into ‘IPP Diesel’ at a cost of Rs 607,000 on Thursday alone, as one of three of NCFPP’s 300 MW coal-fired plants has been dysfunctional since at least 27 June, forcing CEB to burn the expensive diesel to generate the balance electricity generated by the country. NCFPP was built by the Chinese in a mix of commercial and concessional terms at a cost of US$ 1.35 billion, during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency, sans tender call.

But NCFPP more often than not has been partially operable since its commissioning a couple of years ago, forcing the CEB to burn the expensive diesel to fill the breach. If NCFPP is fully operational, it has the capacity to meet 40 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity demand on average.

Meanwhile, the third most-cheapest source of electricity for the CEB last year was ‘other renewable energy’ at a cost of Rs 16.22 a unit. Average tariff charges by the CEB last year was Rs 16.37 a unit according to CBSL.

In related developments, CEBHG breakdown of Thursday comprised ‘Mahaweli’ (12.44 GWh), ‘Laxapana’ (8.09 GWh) and ‘Samanalawewa Complex’ (2.42 GWh), respectively. “Mahaweli” comprises Victoria, Randenigala, Rantanbe, Kotmale and Upper Kotmale hydroelectric power (HEEP) projects, respectively. Victoria, Randenigala, Rantanbe and Kotmale HEPPs were built during the J.R. Jayewardene era after obtaining grant and concessional aid from the West.

By Paneetha Ameresekere