23 March 2011

Sri Lanka Power Demand Hits New Peak Load of 2,000 MegaWatts amid Hot Weather & Growing Usage

23rd March 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's night power demand hit a new peak load of 2,000 MegaWatts on Tuesday amid hot seasonal weather and growing usage, in a day that the utility officially commissioned a new 300 MegaWatt coal plant.

Power demand hit a peak of 1,999 MegaWatts at 7.30 in the evening not counting power generated by mini-hydro plants which can go up to 200 MegaWatts.

State-run Ceylon Electricity Board cannot immediately count the power generated from private mini-hydros which are not controlled centrally.

"We usually have high demand especially in March due to hot weather," state-run Ceylon Electricity Board chairman Vidya Amarapala said "We have touched 2,000MW mainly to cater to the air conditioning load. We have also been increasing rural electrification which has increased the number of customers."

The CEB has a goal of electrifying most of the villages by 2012.

Amarapala said hotels were also using more power for air conditioning with high occupancy partly due to foreign fans that came to watch the cricket Word Cup series.

Tuesday had also seen the higher daily energy generated of 32.75 GigaWatt hours. Industry analyst say mini-hydro plants may have generated another one or two GigaWatt hours.

The CEB has also been giving power to the North and East of the country which emerged from a 30-year war in 2009.

Amarapala said the utility had enough installed capacity to meet the demand, which is expected to go up. On Tuesday the utility commissioned a 300 MegaWatt coal plant - the country's first.

Amarapala said the cost of generating a unit from the coal plant was 9.00 rupees a kilowatt hour at the latest coal prices.

This compares with just an energy cost of about 17 rupees for diesel combined cycles, around 9.40 for residual oil. The CEB sells power to small domestic users for only 3.00 rupees a unit.

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