By Saman Indrajith
Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told Parliament yesterday that the Ceylon Electricity Board would have to resort to emergency power purchasing to maintain a 24-hour uninterrupted power supply.
The Minister said that the CEB would ensure an uninterrupted supply of power countrywide and had no plans for power cuts but then it would have to procure the necessary supplementary power.
Minister Wijesekera said that operations at the Samanalawewa hydroelectric power plant were likely to come to a complete halt by 16 August, following a government decision to release water from the reservoir to the Udawalawe Reservoir.
The Minister said that electricity would have to be purchased in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply from 15 Aug.
Minister Wijesekera said that in the event the request to purchase electricity was not approved, three-hour power cuts would have to be imposed in several areas including Matara, Galle, Ratnapura and Hambantota.
“We will need to impose three-hour power cuts daily in these areas,” he said.
The CEB expected 4,200 to 4,500 Giga Watt hours of hydro generation in 2023 and the Public Utilities Commission had projected 5,000 GWh earlier in the year, Minister Wijesekera said.
However, there would be only 3,750 GWh, he said.
Due to low rainfall in June, the Department of Irrigation requested more water from the Samanalawewa reservoir, which is used for power generation.
Bids would be called from ACE Matara, ACE Embilipitiya and V-Power were in a position to feed the Southern grid, Minister Wijesekera said.