Sri Lanka plunges into 10-hour power cuts as energy shortages bite

The Ceylon Electricity Board said in a statement that they were "compelled to take demand management measures due to inadequate power generation, as a result of fuel shortage and unavailability of generators"

AgenciesUpdated:Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 01:36 PM IST
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A Sri Lankan workshop owner pauses his work and waits during a power cut in Wattala, a suburb of Colombo | AP

The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday imposed a nationwide 10-hour daily power cut due to shortage of hydro-electricity triggered by non-availability of fuel.

Sri Lanka has been facing power cuts since February due to dwindling electricity production in hydro power plants as well as diesel shortages that have crippled the operations of thermal power plants, the commission said, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Ceylon Electricity Board said in a statement that they were "compelled to take demand management measures due to inadequate power generation, as a result of fuel shortage and unavailability of generators."

Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented acute economic and energy crisis caused due to shortage of foreign exchange. A sudden rise in prices of key commodities and fuel shortage forced tens of thousands of people to queue for hours outside petrol filling stations. People are also facing long hours of power cuts daily.

All essentials are in short supply due to import restrictions forced by the forex crisis.

The daily power cuts in the island nation have been further extended Wednesday morning to 10 hours, officials said.

The country has been facing a seven-hour power outage since the beginning of the month.

There is a shortage of 750 megawatt due to non availability of fuel to generate thermal power, the chair of the Public Utilities Commission Janaka Ratnayaka said.

Meanwhile, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on Tuesday announced that there will be a diesel shortage in the country on Wednesday and Thursday, reported Xinhua.

"We were unable to unload 37,500 tons of diesel shipment as planned on Tuesday. Therefore, we request the public not to queue up at filling stations for diesel on March 30 and 31," CPC Chairman Sumith Wijesinghe told the media.

Wijesinghe added that the remaining stocks of diesel would be given to essential services.

Energy minister Gamini Lokuge said the government will make an urgent purchase of 6,000 metric tonnes of diesel from LIOC, the Lanka subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation.

It will be used for emergency services and power generation, he said.

Lokuge said a shipment of diesel under the Indian credit line was expected Thursday.

India recently announced to extend a USD 1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka as part of its financial assistance to the country to deal with the economic crisis following a previous USD 500 billion line of credit in February to help it purchase petroleum products.

During his just-concluded visit to Colombo, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had assured India's continued support in Sri Lanka's economic recovery process.

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