PUCSL readies for emergency power purchases

Monday, 1 March 2021 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Board meeting called to approve emergency power purchases 
  • PUCSL Chairman assures all efforts will be taken to avoid power cuts 
  • Says water levels still not at dire levels, insists regulatory approvals pre-emptive

By Uditha Jayasinghe 

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has called an emergency board meeting to evaluate and approve power purchases to ensure uninterrupted power supply, a top official said yesterday.

PUCSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayake told Daily FT that the public should not be concerned about any moves to institute power cuts by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), as the regulator was moving ahead with plans to approve emergency power purchases. 

“A board meeting has already been called for early next week, during which emergency power purchases will likely be approved so that if there is any shortfall, the CEB will be able to ensure uninterrupted power supply,” he said.

However, the Chairman also stated that water levels in reservoirs have not yet dipped to low levels that would necessitate power cuts and assured that PUCSL was simply implementing preventive measures to avoid load shedding. 

He noted that further details of how much emergency power would be procured at what cost would be decided at the board meeting next week. The PUCSL has traditionally worked to limit costs and reduce load shedding by the CEB. 

Power sector experts have pointed out that that one of the main reasons for repeated cycles of power cuts in Sri Lanka were delays in implementing the long-term power generation plan jointly decided by the CEB and Power Ministry with the approval by the PUCSL. Over the last five years, no large-scale power projects were implemented. 

However, the PUCSL approved the first LNG project in February but it will likely take several years before coming online. Sri Lanka experienced power cuts in both 2019 and 2020, with the latter coming in the wake of a countrywide power outage.