Monday, March 14, 2016

Sporadic blackouts in provinces possible over next few days’

By Hiran H.Senewiratne
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) worked right through the night on Sunday to restore power to most parts of Sri Lanka and succeeded largely, although several suburbs of Colombo were without power even on Monday morning.However, officials cautioned that there could be sporadic power blackouts in some areas outside Colombo over the next few days.

"At present the Norochcholai power plant is shut down and it will take a couple of days to reactivate the plant. It will have to cool down before power supply is fully recommenced. Until then, there will be sporadic blackouts in parts of the country outside Colombo. We will ensure to supply power to critical and priority places, such as hospitals, CEB General Manager M.C Wickramasekera told The Island Financial Review.

He said they are yet to assess the economic loss incurred from the blackout on Sunday. But they will assess the economic loss once power is restored in the entire country. However, blackouts will continue in the next one or two days due to the shutdown of the Norochcholai power plant, he said.

The hours-long blackout brought water shortages as pumping stations could not operate without electricity. Most businesses were forced to close and Internet and phone connections in many areas were disrupted.

"Hospitals in the capital continued to function after switching over to generators. Further, Sunday being a holiday, its economic loss is not as high as on a weekday or a working day, and we will assess the loss once the situation normalizes, Wickramasekera said.

Tonnes of frozen food and dairy products were spoilt because there was no refrigeration. Small businesses said they were trying to hire generators to keep their establishments open.

It was the second major power failure in less than a month, following a three-hour disruption in late February, and the worst since May 1996 when the entire country was without electricity for four days.

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