Electricity shortage in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 November 2007, 12:08 GMT]
Due to reduction of generated power in Jaffna by the contrated power generator, KOOL AIR, effective Wednesday, the supply of electricity during night will be reduced by at least one hour throughout the peninsula, Jaffna Government Agent (GA) K.Ganesh announced in a media communiqué issued Wednesday.

The excerpts from the communiqué follows:

'Until recently the power supply for the peninsula was distributed by two private operators of electric power plants, KOOL AIR operating in Kankesanturai (KKS) and AGRIKO operating from Chunnakam. However, KOOL AIR has recently stopped the production of electricity due to logistical difficulties. With only AGRIKO producing electricity, the supply is inadequate to meet the needs of the people in the peninsula.

"As a result, though the day time power supply is adequate , in the night because of the increased consumption of electricity by the public, it has become inevitable to introduce one hour of power cut throughout the peninsula on a rotational basis."

Meanwhile, officials of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) blamed Sri Lanka Army (SLA) for KOOL AIR temporarily suspending power generation. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) does not cooperate with Jaffna GA in transporting required engine oil for the transformers from Colombo at a reasonable price, CEB sources said.

The price of engine oil supplied in KKS to KOOL AIR is much higher than the Colombo market price, KOOL AIR sources said. They pointed their operation has become non profitable as the unit price of electricity charged to the consumers has not increased in proportion to the cost of production. Neither the Jaffna Secretariat nor the CEB officials have come forward to resolve the situation compelling them to suspend production of electricity, sources added.

Meanwhile, AGRIKO too is facing severe hardships in continuing their operation, sources said.

In April, KOOL AIR, operating in KKS since 1996, reduced supply from 15 Mega Watts (MW) to 4 MW. AGRIKO alone supplies only 15 MW.

The officials of Jaffna branch of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) estimate that 32 MW is required to meet the demands throughout the peninsula.

Until 1990 Jaffna received electricity from Laxapana power station transported along high-voltage transmission lines. With the onset of war, most of the transmission towers to Jaffna were destroyed, and electricity supply for Jaffna depended on diesel-fired power stations located in Chunnakam and in KKS operated by private entities.


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