There’s something uncanny about an all-island blackout. Everyone’s in the dark, together. Except people with generators.
The weird thing about Sri Lanka is that we’re all essentially on a generator anyways. If you read your electricity bill there’s a clause that says “More than 60% of the electricity distributed among our customers is generated by thermal power stations operated on imported fuels”. That is, we burn oil for electricity, much like a generator.
Our grid is so messed up that we’re lucky we don’t have more power cuts, really. It’s full of festering problems that get attention for a while and then sorta disappear – like the coal power plants that don’t really work, or unspecified technical faults that trip the whole system.
Last night was basically the best time you could have a power cut. The virtuous were already asleep and many didn’t notice. Everyone else had to deal with heat and mocking mosquitos in our ears. Shocking really how much I depend on electricity even to sleep. After about 4 hours the lights came on for me and I finally got some sleep.
This hiccup aside, however, one major long term investment we could make is in power. For the people that hold power, this is something they have to deliver to the people. Electricity and water are state services that have to work or the state has problems. So far we tried to solve this problem with weirdly bid coal power plants that end up having major technical issues, but perhaps we could leapfrog these dirty fuels to something cleaner.
That said, whatever it is, we have to start investing and planning for it now. Even at night, no one wants to be completely in the dark.