The rains have come, but Sri Lanka’s power utility lost 167 million rupees per day in August. Ye Gods. Why do the rains matter? Because Sri Lanka runs primarily on hydro power and has to top that up with thermal power. What’s thermal power? Well, do you know how a generator works? You pump in diesel or petrol and it gives you electricity for a while? That’s our national policy.
Literally, what DineMor does when the electricity runs out is the same thing the government does, just on a larger (and much more expensive) scale.
As Minister Ranawaka said in Parliament, “We should remember that if we want power 24 hours it has to be done with thermal energy and it is expensive.”
Thing is, people do want power 24 hours. And they’re already paying high rates, at least I am. Even those rates are said to be subsidized, however, and Ranawaka is saying electricity needs to be more expensive to be more sustainable. Under this current system, however, this does seem necessary, at least until sensible power station (coal, for example) come online.
The Norochcholai power plant was opened in March and handed over from the Chinese in August, but has yet to add power to the grid. It’s open like the Hambantota Port is open, which is to say, not open. Lately it’s been in the news for periodically catching fire. But, um, I hope that works out. With 2800 MW capacity now (see infograph), the 300 MW this plant adds should improve reality by 10%. It’s eventually supposed to add 900MW to the grid.
Currently, however, national energy generation is largely the same as your average apartment building. When the mains kick it, you turn on the generator. This costs like 1.67 million dollar per day. Ye Gods.