By Ifham Nizam
Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman MMC Ferdinando said yesterday that action would be taken to reduce load shedding to less than four hours by Monday.
Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarchchi and Energy Minister Gamini Lokuge confirmed yesterday that the Indian Oil Company (IOC) has agreed to provide 6,000 metric tons of diesel for power generation purposes. They added that around 80,000 tonnes of diesel would arrive in Sri Lanka in the coming days.
Speaking to reporters at the Presidential Media Centre, the head of the CEB said, “Only two diesel power plants are in operation at the moment. However, IOC has supplied us with diesel and the other plants could operate after April 02. Oil-fired power plants could also be in operation when a ship filled with fuel oil arrives in the country on April 4. Only the three coal-fired power plants are currently operating at full capacity. Thus, we will be able to limit the duration of power cuts after April 04.
He also said that CEB could not generate more than 300MW of electricity from hydroelectric plants, given the low water levels, and that there was a demand for 800MW of electricity from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. everyday.
However, a senior electrical engineer told The Island that engineers were of the opinion that fuel shortages and dwindling water resources had crippled power generation, and even if the CEB got diesel immediately, it would take at least two days to increase electricity production.
Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said some institutions were not included in the power cut schedule, adding that 165 CEB departures had been excluded.
“Houses and other establishments that are connected to these feeders will continue to receive electricity. However, I have instructed officials to ensure that only the target institutions are spared,” she added.
Minister of State Duminda Dissanayake, who was also speaking at the press conference, said the country must generate the bulk of its energy needs from renewable energy.
“We believe that by December 2022, we will be able to add more than 2,000 MW to the national grid from renewable energies. Then there will be no problem,” he added.