Power cuts to continue until Lakvijaya is ‘fully commissioned’

Power cuts to continue until Lakvijaya is ‘fully commissioned’

August 27, 2012   09:45 am

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Power cuts will continue until the Lakvijaya power plant in Norocholai, Puttalam is fully commissioned, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said today.

It said that test runs are still being carried out at the coal power plant and that although the operations were commenced at the malfunctioned Norocholai plant yesterday, the generated power has not been added to the National Power Grid.

The inspections have not been completed yet therefore power cuts will continue in parts of the island as per previous schedule, the CEB said.

Currently power supply to 78 major cities including Colombo is suspended for 3 hours and 20 minutes between 8am and 6pm daily

The power cuts were initially imposed until August 27 due to the breakdown at the Lakvijaya power plant and the decreased capacity of hydropower reservoirs.

The 300 megawatt (MW) plant was repaired but another technical failure forced the utility to again turn off electricity for two hours and 15 minutes daily. The CEB has criticised the plant’s record and said it had not been performing up to the expected level.

A Chinese firm which designed Lakvijaya, Sri Lanka’s only coal power plant, said the recent repeated failures were due to over-utilisation of the plant without annual maintenance.

China loaned $450 million for the first phase of the plant and another $891 million for the second phase, which is due to be completed by July 2014 when the plant is expected to generate 900 MW.

Power cuts were imposed in July for the first time since 2001 after the plant failed for a fifth time since it was commissioned in March last year.

Sri Lanka has long maintained uninterrupted power supplies, one of its main pledges to voters and investors, except in 1996 and 2001/2 when it endured power cuts due to severe droughts.

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