As Massive Power Crisis Looms In Norochcholai


The Chinese government would provide a soft loan between USD 350 and 400 million to fund the fourth plant at the Norochchlai Coal Power Plant Complex, informed officials said adding that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) engineers too were keen to accept the generous offer.

Though Ministry of Finance had recommended Independent Power Producers (IPP) model, senior engineers had said there was no point in going for IPP in Nororchcholai when everything was under the CEB control. Engineers are also not in favour of a joint venture between China and Sri Lanka, terming it would be similar to an IPP. Meanwhile, project engineers told The Earthlanka that Sri Lanka had gained Rs. 431 billion from the Norochcholai plant during the past eight years. “Even Chinese are fond of the plant …this may be the reason they want to help us. A soft loan from China is the best option when it comes to the fourth plant in Norochcholai. If it is IPP model, then they look for a place elsewhere. If things go well we can generate electricity form the fourth unit in2023,” an electrical engineer said.

Another, Engineer said that unless it was government to government competitive bidding would be the best way. “The Electricity Act clearly says apart from a Government to Government project, the Board can decide when faced with a calamity as now,” he added. However according to State Minister for Power Mahindanda Aluthgamage government would call international tenders for a 300MW coal plant in Norochcholai as an extension to the existing coal complex. People in the vicinity of the coal complex had been suffering from ash and coal dust. However, a new system is in the pipeline handled by an international company, an official at the plant said. The plants that were built were from China which came as Design Build Transfer projects amid a power crisis from previous delays caused by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe administrations’ failure to launch power projects for fear of protests, but the CEB had originally wanted a cleaner plant with Japanese technology.