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Sri lanka News – Sri Lanka is looking to reduce power cuts from the current three hours after a coal plant was repaired and re-connected to the national grid, the regulator said.

Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Janaka Ratnayake said a letter had been sent to the Ceylon Electricity Board to “give the people the benefit of Unit 1 being added back to the grid.”

A 300 megawatt coal plant in the 900 megawatt Norochcholai complex experienced a sudden breakdown after high pressure pipes in its boiler was damaged.

Though the plant had been repaired CEB officials say that the impact on power cut durations could not be stated yet, as it would depend on the availability of water in the reservoirs, availability of diesel, naphtha, and the state of Sri Lanka’s other energy sources.

Sri Lanka’s power cuts, which were previously curtailed to one hour were increased to three hours again due to the breakdown.

When questioned why the plant seemed to be subject to such frequent breakdowns, the official told EconomyNext that the current rate of operations was smooth considering the circumstances.

“Norochcholai has a plant factor (measurement of operational time and energy) of 85 percent. That is very good. The current rate of only roughly 2 breakdowns a year is very good,” the official said.

Coal plants are generally expected to be around 80 percent plant factor.

While regular scheduled maintenance is necessary to keep a plant healthy, the official said that it was not possible due to reasons including the difficulties in importing spare parts.

“If you don’t regularly maintain your car, it will break down more often. A power plant is exactly like that,” the official said.

Sri Lanka coal power plants at breakdown risk without spare parts

CEB engineers had previously warned that coal plants may brake down due to delayed maintenance and lack of spares.

Unit 2 of the power plant is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance.

Sri Lanka’s power plants have been running for extended periods and had maintenance delays partly due to forex shortages. (Colombo/Aug28/2022)

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