PUCSL warns of power crisis

Implementation delays of the long term energy plan over next three year period could very likely trigger a power crisis that could seriously affect the national economy, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) revealed in its latest report.

In the report which had been handed over to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, it said a total financial loss of Rs 50.62 billion is expecting due to the implementation delays of the power plants.

The report said that PUCSL had been continuously monitoring the progress of the CEB in implementing the approved plan and had observed delays in the procurement process of power plants expected to be commissioned by 2020.

Further it said although the Kerawalapitiya 300 MW Natural Gas fired power plant was expected to be commissioned in January 2019 according to the Least Cost Long term Generation Expansion Plans (LCLTGEP), as per the CEB implementation plan it would be commissioned only in June 2020 creating a calculated loss for a month of delay of Rs 1.55 billion.

The report also revealed that as per the CEB implementation plan the plant is going to be delayed for 18 months where the loss would increase up to Rs 28 billion.

Also the report reveals that the 122 MW Uma Oya Hydro plant is expected to be commissioned by January 2019, but the expected commissioning date is not given in the CEB implementation plan. Therefore it was assumed that the plant would be delayed by one year.

“As per the LTGEP the expected energy generated from the Uma Oya plant is 290 GWh per annum, if the plant is delayed the substitute energy will cost additional Rs. 22.00 per kWh. Therefore the financial loss for one year is calculated as LKR 6.4 billion. This translates to a monthly loss of LKR 0.5 Billion assuming constant plant factor if the plant would have been implemented.” the report said.

The report also concerned over the solar, wind and mini-hydro projects that are to be implemented by year 2018 – 2020 and assumed to be delayed each project by one year because of the implementation delays.

Accordingly a the report had forcasted a total loss of Rs 5.44 billion from three solar plants if the implementations delayed for a period of one year.

Also it calculated an approximate loss of Rs 9.02 associated with delaying of above wind plants while 15 MW mini-hydro plant would be Rs 0.58 billion per year.

Therefore the Commission had recommended to expedite the procurement of listed power plants in the report accordance with the approved schedule, as a matter of national importance.

The PUCSL had rejected the arrangement of purchasing emergency power in the future to meet any capacity or energy deficit due to implementation delays of stated upcoming power plants and urged such costs should not be passed through to the consumers through tariffs.

It said that the government may consider a change in industry structure if the generation plan implementation cannot be efficiently carried out within the current structure.

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