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PUCSL warns of extended power cuts



The available coal stocks will be depleted by January 02 and lengthy power cuts predicted by CEB engineers will be unavoidable without new shipments, Public Utilities Commission Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said.

He said the Norochcholai Power Plant had 100,000 MT of coal left by December 21 but it will run out by January 02 since the plant needs 7,500 metric tons per day.

He said that a vessel carrying coal which is scheduled to arrive in the country is still in Maputo of Mozambique, and the ship will arrive in Sri Lanka in 13 days since the coal loading will be completed today (25).

He further said that it will take another 5 days to unload the coal from the ship once it arrives in the country. Therefore, he said if there is no coal available from January 02 till the day of coal unloading, the Norochcholai Power Plant will be completely defunct.

Accordingly, Mr. Ratnayake emphasized that there is a risk of extended power cuts.

Minister’s Mantra

Meanwhile, a weekly English newspaper reported that the CEB has planned for the three power generator units at the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant (Norochcholai) to undergo scheduled maintenance on a staggered basis, effectively having one of the three units offline for a period of 160 days in 2023.

According to Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera, the CEB plans to take each of the three units at the Norochcholai plant offline for Level A and Level C maintenance on a staggered basis, thereby leaving the other two generation units operational (combined output of 600 MW) to provide the firm power capacity needed to sustain electricity supply.

The Minister stressed that the CEB could no longer put off scheduled maintenance of the units as it increased the risk of a breakdown.

According to Minister Wijesekera, the CEB has planned to stop operations of the Unit 1 generator for a 30-day period (May-June 2023) for a scheduled Level C maintenance programme. Unit 2 will also be offline for a 30-day period (June-July 2023) for a Level C maintenance programme.

Unit 3, according to Wijesekera, had been scheduled for a major overhaul this year. However, due to continued usage, the maintenance has been pushed back to September 2023, when it will be offline for a 100-day period. Unit 3 will be offline from 20 September to 31 December 2023 for a Level A maintenance.

A single generator at Norochcholai Power Plant generates between 300 and 270 MW of electricity and when all three units are operational, approximately 900 MW is added to the national grid.

Accordingly, this total amount can be obtained only for 205 days next year according to the CEB plan.

CEB misleading the public?

Meanwhile, experts in the electricity sector claimed that the CEB has revealed these plans through an English newspaper to mislead the people.

They pointed out that earlier the minister had said that the three generators of the Norochcholai power plant had been requested to be shut down for repair work on three occasions next year, and with the issue of coal, only one generator was expected to be shut down. However, they claimed that the minister has again said that all three generators will be shut down from time to time.

However, internal sources of Norochcholai Power Plant said that these maintenance works can be completed within 90 days.

It was reported that 90 days will be spent to complete repairs since spare parts have to be imported from China and assistance from Chinese engineers have to be obtained.

It was said that the CEB has nearly 100 engineers, but none of them are capable of carrying out any repair work at the power plant.

A long-term maintenance of Norochcholai has been planned and information has been given to a weekly newspaper to avoid the issue of coal shortage, the experts alleged.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the Minister and others have not yet made necessary arrangements to bring down coal shipments.

Tenders for coal still with AG

The Lanka Coal Company (LCC) has selected three out of nine companies that have submitted proposals for the supply of 2,250,000 MT (±10%) of coal to the Lakvijaya Power Plant at a minimum of 180 days’ credit facility, the newspaper said.

It is learnt that the LCC has already sent the final reports of the Cabinet-appointed committee and the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) to the Cabinet.

The drafts of the agreements have been sent to the Attorney General’s Department for its opinion as well.

LCC Chairman Shehan Sumanasekara has told the newspaper that the company had already finalised the proposals and potential parties had been selected.

“We have finalised it. There is a committee appointed by the Cabinet and a TEC. Their observations and the final report have been sent to the Cabinet. There also was a request to get approval from the Attorney General on the draft of the agreement. That has also been sent,” he said.

Meanwhile, the experts said that it is not difficult to guess that the coal shortage will worsen in the future and comments have been made through the said newspaper article to deceive the public.


Family of pickpockets arrested!




A man who got into buses with wife and three children and then stole mobile phones and wallets of passengers was arrested along with 5,200 milligrams of heroin, the Piliyandala Police said.

During the interrogation of the suspect, police found nearly 20 stolen mobile phones worth over Rs.1 million.

Piliyandala Crimes OIC IP Dinesh Hettiarachchi, who has been paying attention to several complaints received from youths and school children regarding the loss of mobile phones in buses, has arrested the suspect in Miriswatta based on CCTV footage.

A police officer said that the wife and three children were with the suspect at the time of his arrest, and the three children had started crying requesting not to take their father away.

The 33-year-old suspect, a resident of Pothupitiya in Wadduwa, failed to give a valid reason as to why he was in Piliyandala with his wife and children.

Investigations revealed that the mobile phones of school children and women in buses were stolen meticulously by the suspect along Route No. 138 Homagama-Pettah and Route No. 296 Piliyandala-Maharagama.

Police said that they were able to find the stolen mobile phones which had been sold at a very low price in Badowita, Mt.Lavinia and Pettah.

The suspect will be produced in the Kesbewa Magistrate’s Court.

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‘Murawatte Kabaraya’ hospitalized!




A suspect, who was recaptured after escaping from the custody of the Kalutara Prison officers, was hospitalized due to injuries sustained after he banged his head against the iron door of the police cell, Panadura North Police said.

The suspect was identified as 32-year-old ‘Murawatte Kabaraya’, a resident of Koralawella, Moratuwa.

Police sources said that the suspect was arrested yesterday (07) by a group of officers of the crimes division.

He was admitted to the Panadura Base Hospital in a ‘Suwa Seriya’ ambulance.

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Restraining order against Anura over today’s protest!




The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court issued a restraining order against 26 individuals including Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake in relation to a protest to be organized by the National People’s Power outside the Election Commission in Rajagiriya today (08) against the postponement of the local government elections.

According to Section 106 (01) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Court issued the order against the 26 people including Mr. Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath, Lal Kantha, Tilvin Silva, Sunil Handunnetti and Wasantha Samarasinghe.

This Court issued this order preventing them from protesting along the Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Road, Cotta Road, Nawala Road, Sarana Road and access roads towards the Election Commission.

The Welikada Police requested the restraining order from the Court stating that the protest to be carried out by the parties named as respondents could inconvenience the public and cause disturbance to the students who are facing the GCE O/L exam.

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