The government has directed the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CEYPECTC) to provide 5,000 MT of fuel, costing Rs. 500 million, on credit to the 270 MW West Coast Combined Cycle plant at Kerawalapitiya to avert possible power shedding during the peak hours.
Despite its earlier stand not to provide fuel on credit, particularly to Independent Power Producers (IPPs), CEYPECTC0 yesterday released 5,000 MT to the plant.
The Kerawalapitiya plant with a staggering monthly capacity charge of Rs. 680 million produces more than 25 per cent of power the country needs during peak hours. However, officials said that despite getting the consignment of fuel on credit yesterday, the quantity was only sufficient for seven days.
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) last month paid Rs. 3.2 billion to the CPC to cover its immediate energy demands and settle part of its loans. CPC Managing Director Susantha de Silva said that after IPPs, the Corporation had even decided not to supply oil to the CEB on credit.
However, CEB Chairman W. B. Ganegala yesterday assured that there were no plans for power shedding or power cuts.
The CEB Chief said that the recent breakdowns were chiefly due to bad weather which he said resulted in 10 to 15 minutes of power cuts in most parts of the country.
However, CEB engineers pointed out that they could not continue without power shedding till the CEB got the benefit of revised tariffs in June. "The CEB has to pay a number of private plants besides meeting its own expenses. The real issue is that the CEB does not have money to purchase oil, though the management is doing its utmost to provide a 24-hour electricity supply."