Norochcholai: Indian Help Put On Hold!
By Camelia Nathaniel
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had sought Indian assistance to try and detect the defects at the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, which has once again broken down due to steam leakages and defects in the condenser. Speaking to The Sunday Leader the adviser to the National Electricity Consumer Movement Bandula Chandrasekera said that there are some technical problems that have arisen at the cooling plant at Norochcholai and the CEB had invited an Indian team of experts to access the situation and submit a proposal to rectify the problem. “The Chinese firm that built the plant had said that they needed a considerable period to rectify the problem that would result in the closure of the coal power station for a prolonged period. It would take around a month and a half for the Chinese to attend to the problem.
“However due to the delay in the Chinese remedy the CEB had sought the assistance of the Indians. The Indians were to arrive in the island last Friday. However the Chinese had later agreed to attend to the problem and the Indian intervention had been put on hold. But even by late Friday the Chinese had not been able to detect the problem at the coal power station and the plant was still inoperative costing the country billions in losses. The Norochcholai coal power only contributed 1464 GWH which is only 12% of the total power generation. However the CEB expected to get 16% of the total power generation through the first phase of Norochcholai and nearly 4% from the second stage. But since Norochcholai 2nd stage could not be commissioned as expected in December, they could not get the anticipated 20%. Due to the failure in coal power generation as expected, the loss to the CEB was recorded as Rs. 6.2 billion in the first phase and the second stage Rs. 3.5 billion amounting to a total of Rs. 9.7 billion, due to the failure of Norochcholai alone.
If Norochcholai had performed as anticipated the CEB would have recorded a profit of around Rs. 30 billion this year.
Meanwhile, the CEB DGM Business and Operational Strategy and spokesman Senajith Dasanayake said that the Norochcholai coal power plant had shut down on 13th December as a steam leak was detected at the de super heater steam valve. “Although the plant could still function with the defect we concluded that it would be dangerous to the plant and therefore decided to halt operations. However we later detected that there was also another problem in the condenser. The issue is that the steam leakage cannot be detected without the specialised equipment which is not available in Sri Lanka and the Chinese said that they would take over a month to get the required equipment from China. That is why we decided to call for bids and since the Indians quoted the lowest we decided to seek the help of the Indians. The DGM of Norochcholai informed me that the Chinese were attending to the problem and the Indian intervention has been temporarily put on hold,” he said.