Coal power plants could shut down by November

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With coal supply hanging in balance, operations at the Kelanitissa and Lakvijaya power plants run a risk of coming to a complete standstill by November 2022, Ministry of Power and Energy warned.

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana said, the awarded supplier has decided to suspend contract performance until legal clearances are obtained, putting power generation at risk.

He said it was decided to take legal action against individuals and companies engaged in misleading the public by spreading false claims on coal deals for political and financial gains.

Minister Wijesekara met with officials from the Lanka Coal Company and contracted suppliers recently to discuss issues concerning the Lakvijaya Power Station’s coal procurement.

“Contingency plans were also discussed to procure coal requirements for the following season if contracted suppliers are unable to supply the requirements,” he explained.

According to a Ministry spokesman, a coal shipment should arrive this month; otherwise, Sri Lankans will face longer hourly power cuts in November because the Kelanitissa and Lakvijaya power stations won’t be able to function.

He noted that the coal shipment should arrive soon as possible so power outages could be kept as short as possible.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Janaka Ratnayake warned that existing coal reserves will be depleted by the end of October, resulting in an increase in the number of blackouts.

He noted that current coal reserves are only sufficient until 25 October and that if the Government does not take action to import enough coal by the fourth week of October, all three coal power plants will be forced to close. Ratnayake told that the chosen coal supplier did not even submit the performance bond due to technical issues.

By Thameenah Razeek