- Ministry says last round of load shedding on Wednesday
- Cabinet approval given to proceed with power purchases, longer term plans
- Ravi K apologises for inconvenience, renews appeal for limited use
Ending weeks of load-shedding, the Power and Energy Ministry yesterday said power cuts would end from today, as steps had been taken to increase supply.
Releasing a statement, the Ministry said that the decision was in line with a pledge made by Power Minister Ravi Karunanayake to stop power cuts ahead of the festive season. The Ministry said steps had been taken to improve the country’s power supply on short-, medium- and long-term basis, and as such continued power cuts were no longer necessary.
As a longer-term step, the Ministry is formulating proposals to procure 3000MW to 3500 MW of power, and will work to upgrade existing plants so that they can perform at optimum efficiency.
“In the short-term, to meet immediate needs, the Government will procure power from independent power producers. About 500 MW of power is needed to meet demand during peak hours, and this can be met with this step. The Ministry is also taking steps to increase the current 10% of reserve power to 25%, so that power cuts can be avoided. Cabinet approval has been obtained for this proposal, and the power will be purchased from independent power producers, at a cost lower than what is being paid by CEB. The per unit cost will be about Rs. 25 but the CEB pays Rs.37 per unit at the Kelanitissa thermal power plant,” the statement said.
The Ministry went on to insist that there was no need to purchase emergency power in January and February, and Minister Karunanayake had arrived at this decision after discussions with CEB engineers. However, the sudden breakdown of the Norochcholai power plant had created a sudden power shortage, which could not be met with increased hydropower generation. The Ministry reiterated that the fault of the power cuts was not with the Ministry.
“Even though power cuts will end on Wednesday, Power and Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake requests the public to use power carefully, until a permanent solution can be found. The Minister also expresses his apologies for the inconvenience caused by the power cuts, and acknowledges that it is the responsibility of the Ministry to provide uninterrupted power,” the statement said.