Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved a proposal to procure 100MW of electricity from private power producers for a period of 6 months with the option of extending it by further 6 months. The Power Ministry said cabinet approval has been obtained to purchase electricity in the short term at competitive prices through international bidding.
Island’s power regulator earlier warned of serious consequences to be expected if the timely implementation of long term generation plan is not ensured. Public Utilities Commission said due to planned plants not being built as per the timeline, unforeseen power procurement and change of power mix have resulted the increase in the average unit cost of electricity.
In 2016, actual power purchases from oil based plants have increased by 6 times than planned for 2016. Power Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, releasing a statement, however, said that it is not a problem of state policy and planning.
“Hydropower generation is challenged due to the lack of sufficient hydropower during Southwest and Northeast monsoon rainfall in 2017,” “In this backdrop, the CEB is taking measures to ensure the continuous power supply in the country.” Siyambalapitiya said these emergency power purchases will not result in an extra expenditure to the end consumer. He added that this additional electricity purchase will be less than the cost of some of the gas turbines used by the CEB during the night between 6.30am and 10.30pm, which will be the highest daily electricityrequirement of the system.