CEB fails to deliver N’cholai phase II


By Ifham Nizam

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has failed to connect the Second Phase of the first coal fired power plant, at Norochcholai, to the national grid this month, despite repeated assurances given to Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando.

As a result the CEB has had to spend millions of rupees more on expensive thermal power (300 MW), especially at a time when the hydro capacity level is shrinking.

The second phase scheduled to commence this week would be further delayed, informed sources said. Some engineers claim that they won’t be in a position at least to think about it until the latest problem in the first plant is solved.

Power and Energy Ministry Secretary, M. M. C. Ferdinando, told The Island yesterday that the latest problem in the Norochcholai plant had been sorted out. The CEB management had not responded to his letter seeking explanations on the frequent breakdowns and public outcry over the plant and whether the plant had been commissioned in accordance with internationally accepted standards or equivalent Chinese standards, he said.

CEB Deputy General Manager Operations and Business Strategy, Senajith Dassanayake yesterday said that the latest problem was in the water used generated system. He said he was not aware of a letter sent by the Ministry Secretary to the CEB management.

After the plant had been stopped from operations on December 13, he told The Island that the shutdown of the 300MW plant was due to a technical problem in the desuperheater valve and it would be restored by December 17.

According to the schedule, the second phase at Norochcholai was expected add another 300MW to the present 300 MW in December.

The Norochcholai plant was shut down on August 21 for almost two months for annual maintenance work.

The Second Phase commenced operations in late October, but there were no signs that it would be connected to the grid soon, an official said.

The plant has broken down nearly 30 times since commencing operations in 2011.

It was built at a cost of USD 455 million––a loan from China’s EXIM bank- by the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation.

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