Govt to avoid long hour power cuts as coal shipments nearing island shores
Sri Lanka is set to avoid impending eight to ten hour power cuts predicted by Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union and some officials as a result of the government’’s efforts to bring down coal to run Lakvijaya power plants materialized.
Seven ships of coal are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka within this month according to Shehan Sumanasekara, Chairman /Managing Director of Lanka Coal Company.
Accordingly seven ships, each carrying 60,000 metric tons of coal are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on January 6, 7, 13, 20, 23, 27, and 31.
These coal ships are to be unloaded at Puttalam Harbor and the coal will be transported from there to Lakvijaya Power Plant in Norochcholai.
The Chairman of the Lanka Coal Company stated that regardless of various reports, the required coal can be supplied to the Norochcholai Power Plant without shortage, and accordingly, it will be possible to provide a continuous supply of electricity from the power plant.
As there is currently a problem in issuing letters of credit in the country, he has agreed with the supplier that 30 percent of the total amount will be paid when the coal is loaded on the ship and the remaining 70 percent will be paid when the coal is unloaded from the ship.
The chairman added that the required 30 percent of the payment has been made for all incoming coal ships.
Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera reiterated that the 8-hour-long power cuts predicted by certain Ceylon Electricity Board trade unions will not materialize if the requested power tariff increase is granted this year and the arrival of coal shipments.
The proposal will be taken up by the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday 09. The price hike will happen legitimately and if anyone is against the decision can challenge it in the Courts,” he said .
Minister Wijesekera said the cost is based on average rainfall, noting that they still have a forecast for rain next year. “If there is more rain next year, we will reduce the price in July,” he added.
CEB General Manager said the proposed tariff hike in January is about 60% to 65% and it will be sought through the Cabinet of Ministers to offset costs.
Seneviratne claimed the electricity regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka has not given a sufficient increase in the August tariff hike.
Many groups have voiced their objection to the proposal, claiming that it would be unfair to electricity users who had already seen an average 75% hike in electricity tariff across the board in August 2022.
Minister Wijesekera however said there is currently an effective subsidy of about Rs.100 billion to industries and Rs. 120 billion to households.