Electricity supply to Jaffna peninsula faces crisis

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 January 2009, 05:56 GMT]
‘Agrico’, the private firm and the major electricity supplier to Jaffna peninsula Monday informed Colombo office of Sri Lanka Electricity Board (SLEB) that it will suspend operation as the contract signed with SLEB has not been renewed, sources in Jaffna said. The situation is further worsened by the inability of the Chinese firm, ‘Northern Power’ to supply electricity to the entire peninsula one year after the award of contract, sources added.

Northern Power, had installed 6 big generators each said to be capable of producing 6 MW electricity in Chunnaakam in the beginning of year 2008 and the 32 MW requirement of the peninsula was within the total capacity of the generators.

However, during the course of Northern Power’s contract period three of the generators were in combination generating only 4 MW which is but one eighths of the total electricity need of the entire peninsula.

Meanwhile, at present Agrico generates 15 MW, while Cool Air, a former contracting firm generates 1 MW and SLEB Jaffna, 5MW electricity, in Jaffna peninsula.

A two hour power cut is imposed daily as the above units of electricity are insufficient to meet the needs of the peninsula.

This power cut is due to the failure of Northern Power to supply electricity in keeping to the contract, SLEB Jaffna officials said.

SLEB faces a loss running into millions of rupees due to illegal use of electricity by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Jaffna peninsula.

SLEB and government key officials, including former SLA Commander of Jaffna, Major. Gen. G. A. Chandarsiri, had been reluctant to take prompt action on the Chinese firm Northern Power for not fulfilling the contract, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Civil society sources said they suspect rampant malpractice including corruption may be the root of this matter.

SLEB Jaffna office has notified its Colombo head office regarding Agrico’s intended suspension of electricity supply which is likely to result in extended powercut in Jaffna.


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