The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Chairman Janaka Ratnayake yesterday warned that Sri Lanka might lose 900 MW of coal power generation due to the unavailability of sufficient stocks and the ramifications of it will have to be borne by the public with long power outages.
'At the moment we have two of the three Norochcholai coal power plants fully operational. However, the coal stocks we have is only sufficient till the last week of October and if the Government or Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is not allowed to import, there is a high possibility that the plants will be forced into a shutdown. This also means long power cut hours,' he told journalists yesterday. Despite having renewable energy and water in the reservoirs, he said there is still a high risk of not getting the coal on time to generate power during November and December.
Ratnayake said Sri Lanka has to pay $ 50 million for the previous coal consignment, which is still pending.
He said currently 30% to 40% of demand is generated by the Norochcholai coal power plant.
'We need to ensure that the current power generation plan is not confused for the benefit of all citizens. Thus, we must procure sufficient coal at least by early next month for the sake of the public and the economy at large,' Ratnayake stressed.
Separately, the Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera yesterday officially requested the Committee of Public Finance Chairman Dr. Harsha de Silva to conduct an inquiry on the procurement of Coal.
'False allegations levelled against the awarded tender have created questions on transparency and pricing. I hope COPF will expedite the inquiry,' Wijesekera opined via Twitter.
The Lanka Coal Co. Ltd., called for tenders for the procurement of 4,500,000 tons of coal and the revelations thereafter have stirred much controversy since then.