CEB, CPC stock fuel for difficult times

Now smooth sailing with heavy rains

by Ifham Nizam

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the West Coast Combined Cycle plant at Kerawalapitiya, owned by Lanka Transformers Limited (LTL), yesterday jointly agreed to pay Rs. 1.5 billion to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), a high ranking official said.

He told The Island that CPC had asked the CEB and the LTL owned company to sign the Letter of Credit (LoC) directly for the forthcoming consignment of between 30,000 and 35,000 MT of low Sulphur Furnace Oil.

However, both, the CEB and LTL had instructed the CPC to go ahead with LoC as usual without asking them to do so. CEB contributed one billion rupees and the LTL half a billion. The remaining 1.5 billion rupees would be borne by the CPC. 

Due to the high percent of hydro generation, the CPC’s stocks of low sulphur furnace oil were not used by thermal power plants like Kerawalapitiya. The country’s entire stock was only sufficient for 20 days of power generation.

"Of course, the saving was possible due to the rains. Since the middle of May we have had that stock. In fact if not for the rains we would have by now spent three billion ruppesand looking for another three billion rupees to keep the thermal plants supplied," a CEB official said. A senior CPC official told The Island that they had the liberty to delay placing fresh orders initially, thanks to earlier lier heavy rains experienced due to the cyclone and with the present torrential rains in most parts of the country. Purely going by the electricity generation, the country had water to the value of more than Rs. 20 billion.

Meanwhile, the 270 MW West Coast Combined cycle plant at Kerawalapitiya, has been having stocks of fuel for only five days since last month. "We could manage it because the plant was not made use of for weeks," officials said.

West Coast combined cycle plant at Kerawalapitiya, usually contributes some 25 per cent of the electricity to the national grid, especially during peak hours between 6.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m.

A senior engineer in the Plant said that the plant could not function without fresh stocks of fuel. Commissioned in stages from 2008, the West Coast combined cycle plant, built by Lanka Transformers Limited, with capital contribution from state-managed agencies, including the Employees’ Provident Fund, is the largest private plant in the system.

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