Thursday, March 17, 2016

Restoration of power supply further delayed: FTZ in chaos

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has informed the Biyagama Export Processing Zone (EPZ) that power supply can be restored only by March 21. Earlier, the CEB said it would fully restore the power supply by yesterday. Sources told The Island that operations had been severely affected due to power cuts and disruption of water supply. The Water Supply and Drainage Board said that due to power cut, required amount of water couldn’t supplied.

The government hadn’t been able to address the grievances of exporters, sources said. The CEB has said that it needs some more time to replace the damaged transformer at Biyagama.

Despite assurances of an uninterrupted power supply from yesterday by Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, electricity cuts were experienced in many parts of the country.

Minister Siyambalapitiya said the Biyagama EPZ experienced power cuts due to the replacement of the damaged electricity transformer at grid substation there.

He told The Island that the Norochcholai coal power plant would be back in operation ensuring a continuous electricity supply from today.

"We are in the process of starting power plants at Norochcholai and we have already added 200MW to the national grid," the Minister said.

"We had to impose power cuts for the last three days on several occasions due to the non-operation of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant. All three generators have cooled by this evening to restart operations. We hope we will be able to generate power by tomorrow morning and there will be no need to impose any power cuts from tomorrow," he assured.

Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman Anura Wijepala said three of the Norochcholai power plants had already been activated but it took at least one day to load them.

There would be scheduled power cuts in several areas of the country till then, but the power plant would come back to feeding the national grid normally by Friday morning, he said.

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