CEB’s generation profits at Rs 4.35B in 12 days

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Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) made a generation profit of a minimum of Rs 4,350.8 million in the 12 consecutive days to Thursday (15 September) aided by the cheap and clean “CEB Hydroelectricity Generation” (CEBHG), CEB data of Friday’s (16 September) showed.

Howevere, CEB’s generation profits in the 12 days to Thursday alone could have had been increased by 5.57 per cent (Rs  224.4 million) to Rs 4,575.2 million if the 900 mW  Norochcholai Coal Fired Power Plant (NCFPP) was fully functional, statistics also  revealed.

All costs are computed according to CEB’s last year’s average tariffs and generation charges as per data found on Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL’s) 2021 Annual Report. Transmission losses are discounted in this calculation. CEB’s transmission and distribution losses have been estimated at 8.72 per cent last year.  According to CBSL, CEB’s last year’s average tariff rate was Rs 16.37 per Kilo Watt hour (kWh). However, CEB’s tariff increase of 75 per cent effective from 9 August 2022 (Ceylon Today’s 10 August edition) is discounted in these calculations

Meanwhile, NCFPP more often than not has been partially operable since its commissioning on 16 September 2014, 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.  On Thursday, renewable energy (RE) led by “CEB Hydroelectricity Generation” was responsible for meeting 61.34 per cent (26.13 Giga Watt hours (GWh)) of total CEB electricity generation which was 42.60 GWh.

In related developments, CEBHG alone provided 47.56 per cent (20.26 GWh) of the total 42.60 GWh of electricity generated on Thursday.  The cost of one unit (one 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 cost for the CEB was buying electricity from  Independent Power Producers (IPP) or “Private Sector Diesel Electricity” at Rs 30.35 a unit.

In like developments, CEB generated 2.75 GWh (i.e., 6.20 per cent of total electricity generated) of electricity by burning “CEB Diesel” at a cost of Rs 84,559,200 and “IPP Diesel,” 0.84 GWh (1.97 per cent) at a cost of Rs 25,494,000 respectively as a substitute for coal on Thursday alone as one of three of NCFPP’s 300 mW coal fired plants have been dysfunctional since at least from 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.

Meanwhile, the third most cheapest source of electricity for the CEB last year was “other renewable energy (RE)” at a cost of Rs 16.22 a unit. CEB Hydroelectricity is the main source of RE for CEB. In related developments, average tariff charges by the CEB last year was Rs 16.37 a unit according to CBSL.

In other developments, CEBHG breakdown of Thursday comprised “Mahaweli” (11.08 GWh), “Laxapana” (7.42 GWh), and “Samanalawewa Complex” (1.77 GWh) respectively.  “Mahaweli” comprises Victoria, Randenigala, Rantanbe, Kotmale and Upper Kotmale hydroelectric power projects (HEPP) 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