Update: Norochcholai out of action; power cuts to continue

14 March 2016 - 9185   - 11

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has warned the public to expect intermitent power outages for the next several days as the island-wide power outage that occurred yesterday has put the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai out of action.

The Norochcholai coal power plant supplies 900 Mega Watts to the National Grid. The process of getting the plant operational again will take several days. As such, the CEB noted several parts of the island may experience power cuts from time to time.

Meanwhile, several parts of the island, including certain parts of Colombo,  experienced power outages this morning as well.

A meeting between high-ranking officials of the CEB and the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy over yesterday's power outage was due to be held this morning. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has also called a meeting to discuss the topic. That meeting is scheduled for this afternoon.

The Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy says it suspects that the country-wide power cut was caused by a fault at a sub-station in the Biyagama area.

Secretary to the Ministry Dr. Suren Batagoda said that the supply of electricity has been restored to the cities of Colombo and Kandy.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board Anura Wijeyapala said that the Norochcholai Power Plant has also malfunctioned.



Sri Lanka suffered its worst nationwide power cut in 20 years Sunday, March 13, causing water shortages and transport and trade disruptions across the country, officials said.


The national grid switched off early afternoon and attempts to reconnect failed as the system was unable to cope with night-time demand, a spokesman for the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) told local media

However, after about 7 hours several areas of the capital received electricity while the authorities announced a step-by-step restoration of power throughout the island.

It was the second major power failure in less than a month, following a 3-hour disruption late February.

The latest blackout was the longest since May 1996 when the entire country was without electricity for 4 days.

CEB chief Anura Wijepala accepted responsibility for the latest breakdown and offered to resign.Traffic signals failed and public transport was disrupted, while many shops were unable to process credit card payments and fuel pumps were out of action.



  Comments - 11

  • Activist Monday, 14 March 2016 12:33 PM

    Seriously? Sri Lanka is this backward in Technology? Power failure islandwide from morning, it's been 4 hours and still no electricity! We're supposed to burn to death over here in Colombo?

    Reply : 0       3

    Furious Monday, 14 March 2016 07:31 PM

    This is unacceptable !!! Surely we should do better than this. It is 21st century for crying out loud!!! It is utterly depressing living in this country which is rapidly going down hill. Hip hip hurray for those who voted for a change on 8 th of Jan

    Reply : 2       1

    free thinker Monday, 14 March 2016 08:27 PM

    i hope that even this incident will make the officials' eyes open... why cant we make more power stations which runs on ocean currents (sri lanka being an island power generating from ocean currents is not that hard right?) and solar panels and other renewable energy without wasting country's money on every other unwanted thing? then we dont have to totally rely on the norochcholai power plant right? this is like the electricity of the country depends on the coal power plant and nothing else =/ totally unsatisfied with the things that are happening in the country

    Reply : 1       2

    Gerard Tuesday, 15 March 2016 06:44 AM

    Chill my dear Activist. If you haven't realized by now that SL is still a developing country then you better look around and take stock. This is what happens when a government spends billions of rupees on decades long war with no money to be invested in infrastructure. It will take several decades for SL to catch up.

    Reply : 1       2

    Reshon Tuesday, 15 March 2016 09:38 AM

    I have got sick of these power breakdowns. I think their should be competition in the power supply industry,the CEB is running a monopoly, which just isn't working. If their is competiton in the supply of power, the consumer would have a profound benefit, of choosing from whome to buy their power. In short, we would have a next best alternative. But in our case, we don't, if the CEB dosen't supply the power, we burn to death.

    Reply : 0       3

    CommonSense Tuesday, 15 March 2016 11:54 AM

    SL Gov, time to start investing in free sustainable power sources. We ALREADY have the technology and resources to shift our energy supplies from coal and gasoline to clean, free solar and wind - Electricity should be an essential in every household from the 10 room mansion to the 1 room shack and not a commodity that is only accessible to the 1% elite who can afford generators while the 99% suffer because of global warming caused by dirty energy.

    Reply : 0       3

    buwa Wednesday, 16 March 2016 01:34 AM

    Trying to cast some light on the situation many people think the power cut is a curse only in this country, that we are in 21 st century etc. Please look around so called developed countries like USA, China, France also have this sort of situation. Giving a monopoly to the CEB is wrong, should create competition but beware if the prices go beyond average person then don't say to again get the power sector to government owned one. The one blasted in Biyagama was more than 20 years old one (according to my knowledge) politicians saying that this may be sabotage, another child's joke to most of the knowledgeable persons. Norocholai was built to supply the bulk of our country's demand and it was responsible for almost 75% of national demand before the first outage several days back. The fundamental theory is it is bad to be dependent on a single generation source for more than 45%. But being a poor country we lack the funds (not loans with hidden agendas.) Another person mentioned renewable energy sources - it is a very good idea, but the issue is that we can hardly have any control over any of the sources, wind, sun, ocean currents, and we lack the technology also. Think like this how many rupees would you have to spend to fully electrify your house with solar, how long will it take to recover that amount with your current CEB bill? Be educated before you accuse others or make suggestions because there is a larger picture. Sorry if I hurt any feelings.

    Reply : 0       3

    Charu Wednesday, 16 March 2016 08:07 AM

    Initially Cheap... but operation cost, maintenance cost and breakdown are more for Chinese products... 35 breakdowns and now a major collapse of the powerplant... Now you have learned a costly lesson. When you put all the eggs in one basket... you have to dance to the tunes...

    Reply : 0       2

    ExtreamAction Thursday, 17 March 2016 02:10 PM

    Nuclear Power is the only long term solution.

    Reply : 0       2

    A. K. Adwani Friday, 29 July 2016 09:05 AM

    Corrupt politicians robbed the country of its future and hoarded money in Panama.

    Reply : 0       2

    S.Vaidy Sunday, 26 March 2017 10:03 PM

    Please revive the Coal Plant at Trinco immediately

    Reply : 0       1

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