The CEB warns that by the beginning of next year, the country may experience power cuts as a result of the power crisis aggravating due to the inability to import the 600,000 tons of coal required for the Norochcholai coal power plant.
Six coal ships did not arrive in the country due to the increase in the price of coal and the cancellation of the tender called for the immediate purchase, CEB Chairman M.C.C. Ferdinando told the media.
Due to this situation, one or two generators with an output of 300 megawatts out of the total Norochcholai coal power generation of 900 MW will have to be stopped and electricity will have be generated from alternative power plants using fuel, he said.
The CEB Chairman further stated that the next issue is the huge costs in generating electricity from such fuel where the cost of production of a unit of electricity generated by coal is around Rs. 15 compared to the price of a unit of electricity generated by a diesel power which costs over Rs. 30.
The Norochcholai coal power plant requires around 2 million tons of coal per year.He said that although tenders were called again this time, the difficulties in unloading the coal as well as the rising cost of coal and the shortage, has further aggravated the issue.
It is reported that 600,000 tons of coal required for the power plant has to be imported before April as the monsoon season sets in from April to October.
The methodology for purchasing coal for the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant is to procure 50% of the coal required for the power plant according to the annual tender procedure.
The remaining fifty percent is purchased under spot purchases.
The present problem has arisen due to the cancellation of the tender for the spot purchase of 600,000 tons of coal which was to be imported to Sri Lanka during the last 50 days.
The Electrical Engineers’ Association also warns that the power crisis in Sri Lanka will be exacerbated from next year due to coal shortages, rising prices, dollar shortages and non-bidding.