Breakdown in Sri Lankan national grid resulted in partial outages

Colombo, Oct 20 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy Ministry said that the recent island-wide partial power cuts was a result of a breakdown in a critical transmission line in the National Grid and not due to a malfunction in the Norochcholai coal power plant.

The Ministry statement issued late Wednesday said that a channel used to transfer power had malfunctioned which resulted in an emergency shutdown of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, Xinhua news agency.

The plant, located in the outskirts of the capital, is Sri Lanka’s only coal-fired power plant which supplies almost 50 per cent of the power demand of the country.

According to experts in the electricity sector, the breakdown in the transmission line in the National Grid, highlighted the urgency to upgrade Sri Lanka’s National Grid.

A senior engineer, at the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant said that the plant was connected to Sri Lanka’s National Grid via two transmission lines in different directions.

The Engineer explained that on October 15, one transmission line connecting to the plant was under maintenance while the other had tripped. The power loss of the Grid resulted in the emergency shutdown of the three units in the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant.

The Ministry said that presently the staff of the Ceylon Electricity Board were attempting to recover the units at their earliest to provide an uninterrupted power supply in Sri Lanka.

The Ministry also rejected reports blaming the Norochcholai Power Plant for malfunctioning which led to partial power cuts.

The Ministry further said that two previous power cuts earlier this year was also a result of a breakdown in the National Grid and an explosion of a transformer and not due to any malfunction in the Norochcholai Power Plant.