The Norochcholai power plant at sunset.
The damnable power cuts. Colombo seems to have power, but Dehiwela doesn’t, right now. I’ve heard that parts of Nuwara Eliya haven’t had power for days. It’s a damn mess. We, for example, have to leave the home office and flee, throwing the entire morning’s work into disarray. I wonder if you can put a Rupee amount on productivity lost. It must be a lot.
The Rupee amount on keeping power going, however, must be higher. If it isn’t altogether impossible. The issue is that it hasn’t rained (driving hydropower) and the new coal power plant keeps breaking down, twelve times in the last 18 months. I’ve heard that the Chinese built plant was unsuitable for dealing with salty sea water and air, among other things. Even the power minister is saying that the plant has problems and should have been built different or somewhere else.
According to Champika Ranawaka’s interview in The Nation, he says they have to transport coal via barges because the water is too shallow for ships. He says Trinco would have been a better location. Honestly, Trinco would be a better location for a lot of things.
Though this plant keeps breaking down, it is still our only semi-long term solution. Past governments have just built, essentially, generators, running off fuel oil. These are hideously inefficient and expensive and yet they’ve been taking up the slack when it doesn’t rain. Without the buggy Norochcholai plant we’d have power cuts even worse, maybe all day.
So that’s why, but the what is that it still sucks. People don’t have power, which means businesses can’t run, which means people like me are not happy, at all.