21 September, 2020

Blog

Let’s Have Transparency Re Electricity Disruptions

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Other than a terse remark about problems at Kerawalapitiya switching station, the CEB and the Power Ministry have kept the public in the dark about what happened, why it spread to an all-Island blackout and why it took 8 hours to restore supply. There may be valid technical reasons, but the first thing the donkey of a Minister said when he opened his mouth was “sabotage”; an example of why people have lost confidence in the Cabinet. The CEB for its part has done no good by keeping mum and refusing to provide details – not everybody is a power-systems nerd and the public don’t want excessive technical mumbo-jumbo but it does have the right to a broad and general explanation. 

I am moved to take this opportunity to return to the theme of the political system taking the public for a ride because of an experience I had in 2016. In late 2015 and during the first few months of 2016 there were a spate of three or four all-Island blackouts – some dragging on for about two days. It quite disrupted the economy and household life. Things were getting ominous so the CEB and Power Ministry (it had a longer more pompous name at the time) appointed an expert committee from outside the CEB to sort things out. A top-class engineer and protection specialist Jayasiri Karunanayake, a young bright Peradeniya University power-systems lecturer Atputharajah better known as At-Put were members and they made this old fool the Chairman. We got cracking pronto and were making good progress. I think we had about six or seven meetings, we visited the key plants in question including Norochcholi and I got the CEB technical departments to churn out reams of power-flow, single-outage, reactive power and stability studies for the committee’s perusal. 

Then low and behold without warning, for no reason, and absolutely out of the blue the committee was told to bugger-off, dismissed, dissolved, thrown out. Why? God only knows. CEB Board Minutes and backdoor deals with the Ministry have never been revealed; the files have probably been incinerated. And talk of wasting public money! They paid the three of us good money for the sixty or more hours that each of us had put in and I think they refunded AT-Put for the laptop he purchased for essential stability analysis. Obviously, there were all sorts of backhand deals and gerrymandering going on, nobody wanted his own or somebody else’s incompetence to be exposed, or maybe the acting-Chairman, the Board or the Ministry had things to hide. Honestly, I don’t know any of the backroom stuff but I do want the public to know that expert committees are welcome if they submit politicised junk, if they set about doing a competent job they are dismantled. (Ask Handunneththi why if you are Parliament’s best ever COPE Chairman you don’t get re-elected!)

[For the technically curious: We were zeroing in on four possible reasons for cascading system failure; incorrect protection coordination of some parallel circuits, reactive power surges in the southern part of the network, possible sub-synchronous resonance between Norochcholi alternators, and inadequate auxiliary power availability for restarting Norochcholi. Clearly, all the failures were not traceable to one cause].

Ok, back to the real world. It seems that the CEB has sorted out most of this, at least for the time being, since we have not had an all-Island blackout for four years. I do not know if this optimism needs to be toned down by the recent blackout That’s good and I am glad. I hold CEB technical personnel, generally speaking, in good esteem. But one issue seems to linger. At that time one hard nut to crack was getting auxiliary power into the station to restart the Norochcholi coal-fired plant. Hydro, gas-turbines and diesel don’t have this headache. We were assured at the time that a line was being constructed to bring juice in from elsewhere, that is parts of the system already energised by hydro or GT. The CEB website now has a cryptic remark that restarting Norochcholi is taking time. I don’t know what that implies. 

To return to my theme today. There must be more transparency when things go wrong. My idea is not to go all out on a witch hunt after some small bugger; the big culprits always get away. It is to imbue a new culture about how to build a more open society. The CEB has its management, on top of that sits a Board – so far so good – on top of that is a solo-item Ministry of Power with nothing to do but oversee (read irritate) the corporation. That’s where all the money goes and before long, they will be fighting each other like vendors in a fish market.

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Latest comments

  • 20
    8

    we are the one and only singala budist nation the world and the power black out taking place because still we are using the name of CEYLON (imperial)ELECTRICITY BOARD.This is very bad after our 2/3 victory WE MUST CHANGE THE NAME AS SRILANAKA BUDDA DHARAMA ELECTRICITY BOARD AND ARRANGE FOR A 24 HOUR PRITH CHANTING IN NOORAICHOLAI AND KERAWALAPITIYA AND GET THE CHIEF OF SANKA TO TIE PREET NOOLA ON ALL THE TRANSPLANTS.once this is done there will be no more power black out.-jayaweewa.

    • 10
      0

      As Prof. KD suggested a while back, an underwater cable connection to the Indian grid should mitigate this sort of problem. It would be good for both sides. But there isn’t any money to be made in such deals, is there? It’s much more profitable to park a couple of 300 MW barges in the harbour, and to hell with the pollution.

      • 5
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        old codger

        “As Prof. KD suggested a while back, an underwater cable connection to the Indian grid should mitigate this sort of problem. “

        The idea of connecting grids between India and Sri Lanka was mooted many many moons ago especially by UNP government, even during early part of Ranil’s last government. It was opposed by CBE, its trade union, Weerawansa, … all the usual culprits. As you said “But there isn’t any money to be made in such deals,”.

        How about making use of 400,000 idling members of armed forces and 60,000 members of saffron brigade by peddling bicycles with Dynamos, on 24/7/52 basis?

        • 2
          1

          Hello Native Vedda,
          The idea of connecting the Sri Lankan power system to the Indian power system by a High Voltage Direct Current link [HVDC] was first considered in late 1973.
          The HVDC link was to allow the export of excess hydro generation to India. With the accelerated implementation of the Mahaweli River Development Scheme, it was thought that Sri Lanka would have excess power once all the power projects were completed.
          Such an HVDC connection would have played a huge part by facilitating a faster restoration, provided the design was appropriate.

          • 2
            0

            Sunil Abeyratne

            Thanks

            “The HVDC link was to allow the export of excess hydro generation to India.”

            What does it prove?
            There was a time this island was thought to have the potential to export electricity to India, look at now how the country’s essential infrastructure has been deteriorated/destroyed by the smartass patriots who ruined the country.

            old codger often mentions, how the value of Sri Lankan rupee has been allowed to deteriorate against international currencies including Indian Rupee.

            Now the island has picked the most inept and corrupt leader and parliament, let us see how soon the 42% electors who voted for the war criminals/crooks realise those 58% of the electors who didn’t vote for president or government was right in the first place.

            Every General, Gota, Functionary, ….. continue to gloat winning the war even after 11 years have passed. When will these inapt smartass patriots going to get on with the huge unfinished work that should have been done in the past 72 years yet ignored and ….. ?

            • 1
              0

              Hello Native,
              Thanks for the response.

              The system peak demand was around 200MW in 1975 when Sri Lankan population was about 13 million. We are nearly 22 million now and the system peak demand is well in excess of 2000MW.
              I do not have information on the domestic, commercial and industrial components of the demand at the present time, but the tenfold increase is perhaps driven by domestic demand because more households have been connected to the grid.

              As such, it is not logical to conclude that the present power deficit is the result of gross mismanagement of the economy although I entirely agree with your observations on the performance of our politicians since independence.

              Sadly, Sri Lanka did not have leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and I agree that the political class destroyed Sri Lanka.
              We had politicians like Colvin, NM and Pieter Keuneman but our voters were not smart enough. Perhaps, Sri Lankans did not deserve them.

              • 0
                0

                Sunil Abeyratne,
                Remember, the last few years power interruptions & shortages is not about infrastructure deficiency, it is about China’s condemned -dismantled machinery, Chinese Prison labor workmanship + Lankawe rowdy engineers’ sabotage. Because of your communist mentality, you badly misunderstand this problem to growth of usual power need of a country. All countries in the world are growing. Singapore, Korea, Vietnam like the ones experiencing burst, not organic growth. When I came to US, I read a comparison of New York power supply with Singapore that they had not one power cut for fifteen years, but New York always have here or there a power cut in all summers. Even two weeks ago, all Tri-Sates had one.
                It was Britain introduced the electricity to Lankawe. There only few consumers that time. The shortages (Not power cut) were not the big deal of that time news. They had a balanced demand and supply growth. In 70s there many projects so still the supply and demand matched or supply edged a little bit. But Aanduwa used Badiuddin Mahmud to start the Tamils’ freedom war and spent $(400+ 18)B of government money on China fireworks and Western investment market assets. NM gang, because of their communism, don’t study about demand and supply so they would not have a solution for electrical engineering problem.

                • 1
                  0

                  so you and your piss basket is still there? Someone told me that you still hold the swimming record across Palk Strait with the piss bag full!!

              • 1
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                Thanks Sunil Aberatnae for very enlightened observations.

                Sri Lankan power system to the Indian power system by a High Voltage Direct Current link [HVDC] was first considered in late 1973.at that time it was proposed to be a two way process.

                Initially the demand in India was high and India could not meet their demand locally it was proposed to sell the excess power to India.

                It was also anticipated that years later, India could produce excess and Sri Lanka would be in need of power and in that eventuality the same grid could be used for reverse supply from India to Sri Lanka.

                But for some reason, the proposal was dropped.

                SAARC could develop power policy that cut across national borders for overall benefit of the region.

        • 1
          1

          “How about making use of 400,000 idling members of armed forces and 60,000 members of saffron brigade by peddling bicycles with Dynamos, on 24/7/52 basis?”

          Another dry joke from CT comedian!

          • 0
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            Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

            “Another dry joke from CT comedian!”

            Not really, at the last count it stood at 6,853,690.

          • 1
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            It is not a fantasy. If you use 200,000 or so Kallathoni who arrive annually and fix some wind generators powered by H2S at their exhaust ducts it comes within the realms of reality.

            Only, make sure they are loaded up with stale Dosa – Masala Wade before they dive in to the Palk Strait.

      • 0
        0

        OC
        I wonder if you remember that Prof. KD suggested the same idea in the 1970s, but to sell our surplus electricity to India.
        *
        We need to ask more basic questions than the cost of electricity:
        To start with, to what use do we put our increased electric power generation?

        • 0
          0

          S.J,
          “To start with, to what use do we put our increased electric power generation?”
          Good question. It seems to me that our citizens are more interested in filling their houses with air conditioners and other electrical stuff . The “architects” are busy building more and more fancy towers to fill with air conditioners. Then there are the fake “electric cars”, which only transfer the pollution to Norochcholai
          I think that the government should continue with its ban on imports of all this stuff.

          • 1
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            old codger

            “I think that the government should continue with its ban on imports of all this stuff.”

            You are not suggesting import substitution for self sufficiency as the Weeping Widow and her merry men enforced in the early seventies, are you? The moment SJ hears Weeping Widows names he will welcome and endorse everything that SiriMao did.

            By the way I have read only a half of Gota’s rambling, (the longest ever suicide note according to a friend of mine) do you think there is anything worth reading in the rest?

            • 2
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              Native,
              No, definitely not import substitution. Import restrictions on all excessively energy consuming /inessential items.

              • 1
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                old codger

                “No, definitely not import substitution. Import restrictions on all excessively energy consuming /inessential items.”

                Thanks
                For a moment I thought you are a secret supporter of rotten state capitalism and a fan of the weeping widow.
                I am sorry.

    • 11
      9

      Be grateful for the British Imperial for the electricity infrastructure. If not you will still be on candlelight. Being ungrateful blacks out superstitious beliefs.

      • 5
        9

        Ceylonese,

        What a pathetic freaking loser you are, any development in our country stagnated because of the europeans and you think they made those architectures for us you catastrophic moron? they used our labor and built it for themselves, to make their businesses more profitable, people with inferiority complexes like you are a cancer to Sri Lanka, the best thing you can do for this country is tie a rope around your neck and die but, before you do that at least read a grade 1 history book because I doubt you got past the 5th grade. Btw it’s Sri Lanka not ceylon.

        • 4
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          Jayasuriya

          Welcome back.
          I was worried about you as you have been missing for more than two years from this forum. Are you alright?

          ” What a pathetic freaking loser you are, any development in our country stagnated because of the europeans ………………………………”

          If my memory serves right the Europeans left this island on 4th February 1948, more than 72 years ago and the country was handed back to the Sinhala/Buddhists without any struggle.

          My elders tell me when Singapore was separated from Malaya it was a barren rock. It has grown into a wealthy nation within a few years of its independence.-

          How long are you going to sit on your lazy bum, gloat about Hydraulic Civilisation, Mahawansa, war criminals, patriots, ….. and blame your colonial masters? While you are sitting on your lazy bum your women folks are forced to leave their family and toil in Medieval Middle East kingdoms. Some of them return in coffins.

          The profitable business for you is to loot and destroy businesses owned by “OTHERS” on regular basis.

          Even after 72 years of independence this island still brings in Indian, Chinese, Iranians, Malaysians, ….. Tom, Dick and Harry to build its infrastructure?

          Go ask your local saffron clad thug to tie you with a blessed noola.

          • 1
            0

            Native (Fake) Vedda,
            Garb Age brought by colonial parasites and dumped in Sinhale and divisions deliberately created by Brits between the descendants of slaves and Sinhalayo who are the Native people are the main causes for the problems this country faced after Independence.
            Racist Chelvanayakam who was born in Malaya and entered Sinhale as a Kallathoni laid the foundation to ruin this country, first by forming the Federal Party in 1949 and passing Batakotte Resolution in 1976 to create a separate State for the descendants of Dravida slaves brought by Portuguese and dumped in Yapanaya. He also urged Tamil youths to take up arms to kill Sinhalayo to achieve the objective of creating Elam. They followed his advice and slaughtered Sinhalayo for three decades.

            • 1
              0

              Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

              You silly boy.

              Do you eat வெண்டிக்காய் (Vendikkai) or බණ්ඩක්කා (Bandakka) or Okra?
              You should eat lot of it to improve your faculties.

              By the way it was Vaddukoddai (வட்டுக்கோட்டை වඩ්ඩුකොඩ්ඩ) resolution not (බණ්ඩක්කා) Bandakka resolution as you tend to believe.

          • 0
            0

            Native Vedda,

            Do I need to remind you how since independence the useless tamils have been screaming for an eelam and then started a war which we are just recovering from? The british didn’t hand it to us without struggle we won it from them through political masterminds like D.S. Senanayake, not the tamil coolies who were cozy with the brits. Most of the business owners in Sri Lanka are Sinhalese so no we aren’t going to be looting other businesses and we aware that we aren’t living the best life to which the Sinhalese gather and do something to better the country while you tamil jokers only know to cry about a genocide that didn’t happen and keep begging for an eelam in a country that doesn’t belong to you. You people are useless.

      • 3
        7

        Typical Monkey. worshipping the white man.

        • 1
          0

          a14455

          “Typical Monkey. worshipping the white man.”

          Isn’t why Gota went to live in whiteman’s USA, his brother Basil still a American citizen, Mahinda spent some time with Blake, ….. and many Single handed generals desperate to visit USA including Shavendra?

          If you carry Gota’s b***s well you will definitely have an opportunity to live and represent this island abroad in whiteman’s land, even if you do not possess any special skills, knowledge, wisdom, …..

        • 1
          0

          Typical Monkey Worshiping the white man@ – Are you on your head bastard ?

          Those who you believe not worshiping send their sons and daughters to get educated by the white man why ? They use the products of white man to survive their day today activities `? That street boy – Wimal Buruwanse wiht his school drop out qualification made IDIOT#s favourite politicians, thanks to white man’s tools or not ? The failure lies somewhere else, why not you guys go to begin it with Kindergarten ? Today is not yet too late.

          Besides, respecting white man is what I do, becuase they have introduced some good systems uncivilized folks to follow.
          :
          Even today, white man’s law and order systems have been the bibles of the poor nations such as ours, but not being able to reform them though 7 decades passed since White men left the island for their own.
          :
          I think just attacking the west, would not bring us any inch forward, but to whom we are telling this here – to a nation filled with RASCALS, HIGH CRIMINALS, DRUG TRAFFICKERS, RAPISTS or the like criminals and their leaders according to me they should have been imprisoned long ago.

      • 6
        0

        Did the British Empire deliver electrical infrastructure to the whole world?
        Your logic if extended to the ‘Arab’ numerals, paper and ink, patent medicine and many other things will leave Britain in the stone age.
        Until colonialism, exchange of knowledge between peoples was on an equal footing.

      • 1
        0

        Ceylonese,
        True that Brits gave electricity infrastructure. But that does not compensate for the two major disasters they brought to Sinhale.
        First is environmental disaster by clearing virgin forests in central highlands to grow tea.
        Second is social disaster by bringing slaves and dumping in central part of the country and running away creating a headache for Sinhalayo.

        • 1
          0

          Eagle,
          It seems to me that the biggest disaster the Brits brought on our heads was that they used the slaves’ tea/rubber earnings to teach English to your topless An Cestors, so that their Eediyot descendants can write repetitive rubbish in respectable forums.

          • 1
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            old codger

            “so that their Eediyot descendants can write repetitive rubbish in respectable forums.”

            These patriotic dumasses are unable to creatively improve the insults either. That was the mistake of the slave masters.

    • 1
      2

      Mr paragon

      instead of commenting like a monkey learn proper grammar .

    • 1
      0

      So the standard restoration procedure after a black out is first to have an all night Pirith Ceremony. Wait a minute now, in candle light?

      • 0
        0

        Where were you Edwin?

        • 0
          0

          I thought EDWIN was abducted and sent missing to the very same manner they did it with those 11 youth from colombo rich (tamil srilankens) families ?
          .
          My info failed to find him as to why he went missing for the last few months, until he himself returns to this page.

          Warmly welcome Edwin Rodrigo :)

          • 1
            0

            Reincarnation of Edwin: Thanks Malli for remembering me. Actually I was in Bahrain all this time and still am. I was in hiding because an old girl friend of mine could not bear up being separated from me and filed a paternity case against me. That is all behind me now and I hope to be active in CT as before.

            By the way how is Sam and the rest of the gang? Are you all still in Germany? Take care about Corvid.

            • 1
              0

              Many of them went missing for unknown reasons. I miss Amarasiri almost everyday and i have no idea about his existence any more. If barbarians took his life to the manner they did it with Thadjudeen, Lasantha, Ekanaligoda or those 11 youth whose whereabouts are caught by uncertainties to their monthers.
              :
              Native Vedda @ over to you… do you have any idea where Mr Amarasiri could be ?

            • 0
              0

              Dear ER,
              .
              Please reveal the ground realities of THOSE srilanken guest workers and their current situation in ME in terms of being caught by COVID crisis.

              We are keeping well in Germany – also Italians and Spaniads are doing well with their numbers. It is just wearing a mask also holding meetings has been a real big issue all these days. Life is no longer the same since COVID pandemic hit the world.

      • 2
        0

        To irradicate malaria in 60ties or so, they thought to hold pirith sangayanawa round the clock and while wearing ” pirith noole in meter wise around the those water purification centres”: People are made to believe not the truths but the myths for their political survival. If Gota s efforts would break the walls – is more than questionable. WIth nothing is achieved within the last 9 months, apart from so called 2/3 mandate. The mandate numbers are fishy to me – I have no idea about the others. In that night – 5th of August, why did not they stop start with counting votes until following morning ?

  • 6
    8

    Lankawe Rapist Army fought world’s most powerful freedom fight-rebel group, LTTE, Fought the smallest Corona virus. But failed to fight when in 2013, when its 50 computers, including Media Center of the Defense were hacked. It is said the computer hacking from China comes from their Army’s special unity who handles breaking operating systems security. Now the Power & Energy Minister has placed the rapist Army to guard the electricity too. We don’t know how success will the rapist Army on that. But there are suggestion Aanduwa may need up to a $1B to fix the damages to the system. One time Israel and US got together and got into Iran Uranium enriching centrifuges and caused them to run at unlimited Revolutions per Minute. It delayed the Iran program by years and costed in billions. Generators produced excessive voltage and the Grid lost power. But why?

    • 6
      5

      Minister Azhkaperumaan (Lord Muruga) said it was a CEB engineer created the trouble. He said same problem has happened four times already.
      Well, would like to hear if detailed investigation will follow to determine if the officer was criminally negligent. Would they put this out to a court to determine the liability?

    • 2
      1

      Mallaiyuran,

      You call it the rapist army but, soon as something happens you people come running toward the army screaming for help, you tamils are a pathetic bunch, dog shit is better than you people who are no use for this country other than to beg for a eelam. lol.

      • 0
        3

        Jayasuriya,
        ” You call it the rapist army “ Not me; UN.

      • 1
        1

        Jayasuriya

        “soon as something happens you people come running toward the army screaming for help,”

        The people don’t want to on the contrary the people are running away from the raping armed thugs, whose omnipresence makes you think they are running towards the lazy bums. People cannot s**t without their presence even inside the toilets.

    • 1
      0

      Mallaiyuran,
      The rapist Army is no longer in Sri Lanka. They ran away putting their tails in between their hind legs carrying 1,165 in body bags?
      —-
      “We don’t know how success will the rapist Army on that.”

  • 5
    5

    The house Amina entered and the country China entered are never come up.

    Babaroba Basingan!
    Babaroba Basingan!
    Comedy Thamai

  • 2
    2

    Prod Kum, in his writing, concludes that the Minister is a blundering clod who talks of sabotage, the CEB staff are very nice but admits that when he was in the panel to probe previous failures the panel was dissolved mid way. He further admits that after the failures of during the start of the yahapalana Government the failures did not occur again. It is a fact that it commenced again. The CEB chairman’s voice is heard over audio broadcasts that it was an “අත්වැරැද්ද”. What that really means and the depth of it I cannot fathom. But one thing is certain, it was due to human action, a mistake. How genuine the mistake is can be judged after an inquiry. So the Minister after all was right in suspecting sabotage. It is interesting to note that a reason adduced and published elsewhere purported to be a source from CEB that the Power generated through renewable sources caused a loss of control in the power system. Now, Prof Kum! If you are a man of maturity you should know what that means.

    • 2
      2

      Good Sense,
      Reflections on your remarks!

      The CEB chairman’s voice is heard over audio broadcasts that it was an “අත්වැරැද්ද”
      The chairman, perhaps, conveyed that the power system collapse was caused by human error.

      How genuine the mistake is can be judged after an inquiry.
      Power System Operations Engineers dread making mistakes because the consequences range from death by electrocution to total power system collapse.
      I would imagine that the purpose of an inquiry is NOT to go on a witch-hunt.

      Power generated through renewable sources caused a loss of control in the power system
      Hydropower is a renewable source too and it is eminently suitable for power system control.
      Wind and solar PV (grid-scale systems) can be equally stable PROVIDED these are connected with other supporting infrastructure [too detailed to cover in a non-technical response]. I do not know what the CEB requirements for the connection of renewable generation are. As such, it is best that I do not elaborate.
      Hope my comments are of some use.

      • 2
        0

        Sources close to the industry prefer to whisper that “අත්වැරැද්ද” was in fact an action in violation of the SOP applicable in performing a maintenance operation. Now if some mishap took place while following the procedure it is one thing. But a calamity taking place in violation of the SOP needs to be examined in a different light and if so the chairman seems to comfort the miscreant by describing as an “අත්වැරැද්ද”. Even if the resulting calamity is enormous I would recommend the authorities to pardon him ONLY IF IT CAN BE PROVEN THAT HE DID NOT DO THAT FOR MONEY OF INTERESTED PARTIES.

        • 0
          2

          “අත්වැරැද්ද” Is that bigger than the China Virus, the Covid -19?

          I mean is the CEB’s lie is bigger than the China’s lie?

  • 5
    1

    Thank you professor I through light on the black out.
    All evil seems end up in Noracholai.
    As a power system expert, you seem to have zeroed on Technical stuff.
    I am sure there is corruption in the very construction of the power plant.
    As a political analyst why don’t you shed some light on it

  • 4
    0

    A newspaper stated that the delay in bringing back Norochcholi generators is due to the manner in which they were shut down. Steam pressure was relieved by allowing the rapture disks (safety valves) in the steam piping to puncture (rapture). To replace the rupture disks the piping has to cool down and then the boiler system (auxiliary system) has to be restarted. This may take 2 to 3 days.

  • 2
    1

    Yes, hierarchy of CEB, Board, Ministry, COPE and Parliament. All of them doing the same thing and nothing changes.

    CEB incurring heavy losses year after year!

    Is it true that there are problems in connecting privately generated solar and wind power to the national grid?

    Back to coal power?

  • 4
    2

    Dear Prof David,
    Thank you for letting people know that recommendations based on stability studies have been disregarded. Such an approach is truly tragic.
    There was a total power system failure in South Australia following its separation from the rest of the Australian System in 2016. System studies were conducted by a team of expert Engineers (it took over four months) to understand precisely what happened. Simulations were compared with actual high-speed data recorded over the wide-area monitoring system.
    Analysis led to many recommendations including the world’s most stringent modelling and performance requirements for all generators. All recommendations were accepted and implemented.
    All of us make mistakes and if there have been mistakes then the logical approach is to make changes.
    As a young engineer, I have made my share of mistakes, which included the disruption of supplies to Sri Lanka.
    As young engineers, Mr Jayasiri Karunanayake and I worked at the Laxapana Power Station.

  • 10
    0

    The very fact that SL is still signing contracts for coal-powered electricity generation while the whole world shuns it as hugely polluting, says a lot about how our jokers work. Their interest is in the kickbacks rather than efficiency or productivity. To hell with tons upon tons of carbon emissions into the environment! Tax solar heavily and discourage household solar panel generation of electricity because there are no bribes available. Tax electric cars. Make it impossible for public welfare to take hold, while enriching the scum that hold policy-making power. The bastards would have been shot several times over in another country for betraying the people..

  • 4
    0

    Not only transparency, but accountability as well

  • 1
    0

    The year of the aforementioned Expert Committee was 2008
    Sorry for the slip
    Kumar David

  • 2
    0

    If anyone was expecting even a small percentage of transparency from this corrupt regime, you were simply fooling yourselves. This is only the beginning, more to come.

  • 3
    1

    We need specific recommendations to identify the technical causes of the failure. Will Prof. David or any other specialist oblige?
    Otherwise we will have irresponsible speculation in the same fashion as statements on issues by ‘unofficial spokespersons’ for government institutions on a number of issues.
    We will also have seemingly stupid but politically mischievous rumor mongering to confuse the public. (We see plenty of it already here.)
    *
    Sabotage is a possibility that we cannot always rule out. But knowing the vulnerabilities of the system will enable the Electricity Board to have ready means of remedy.
    *
    Unpreparedness is a bad excuse and there should be minimum room for that.
    There is little that the public can do about the ‘human factor’

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      There are enough E- engineers in SL – world recognized experts at Uni of Moratuwa. Why not govt approach them for an independent investigation.?
      Why do not Unis seem to be collaborating with local industries yet today in Srilanka ? Uni experts are not only to teach their students, they can contribute lot more -their expertise are valuble to the nation, this I have already added somewhere else Mr SJ.

      May be invisible forces, political leadership does not pave the way experts to help them out. Politicians get elected by people – for making laws and adding law reforms. As is the case with any govt, why cant they move an inch of progress within their tenures ?EU parliament pass reforms almost every week, it is a living process for them. But our govt or the ones in developing world only face with stalemate situations. why ?

      UVA province is filled with hidden poverty, no media seem to be doing enough exposing the truths. Nothern part is the same, but POLITICIANS live like AFRICAN tribal leaders, as if they have no hearts at all.

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        LM
        You keep talking about the university academics doing this that and the other.
        Where have the kept out when asked?
        Governments keep running to foreign experts for the slightest thing.
        *
        I can list a number of occasions when they were asked and they did an excellent job.
        Do not fall for idle gossip.
        Also, they did it in the pre-JRJ era for nominal if not no fee.

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          Erudite Scholar, Mr SJ,

          Govt keep running after foreign experts is introduced by RAJAAKSHE ADMINSTRATION.

          They wasted collosal amounts of funds paying huge sums to ASIAN tribune or other institutions for their publicity remember ? They wasted unestimable sums of tax payers, and got reelected. How stupid people should be… I think they stupidier than appeared to be. I really dont know why ?

          Just call an opinion poll to ascertain how far people are aware of the facts about the ground realities of the politics. Not even 5% of the nation would be aware that the govt spend is the funds of the pepole through taxes. They only know that they dont pay taxes… ha ha… why dont the media make this aware to the public ? It is tricky… if people would be aware of the facts, they would not vote for them. Even retired teachers I spoke latey were not aware of the facts that VAT is the main source of the taxes.

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            LM
            I only object to your expression of the view that university academics are indifferent.
            Running after foreign experts started with JRJ. His government handed to foreign companies jobs that our engineers in state corporations and the Buildings Department were very capable of handling.
            It was his government that ditched the very sane pharmaceuticals policy that developed after the late Prof. Senaka Bibile.
            *
            Rajapaksas are the culmination of a process initiated by JRJ. (For example, Gamini D. robbed millions (or is it billions) under his nose.)
            JRJ criminalized politics. He used the likes of Matthew to do his dirty work.
            Premadasa was a much better man.

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    What I read from Prof’s writing is as follows

    – There are issues related to management layers not working together very well…all the way to the Ministry.
    – From his past Technical Involvement/trouble shooting with the Ceylon Electricity Board he noted all the valuable consultations were lost due to the same hierarchical issues/mismanagement.

    I think it will be better this time should we give the newly elected time to integrate and look at all the issues within each sector/departments in a holistic manner ie basically under the GOSL/New Management.

    Sabotage is a big issue that should never be overlooked under any circumstances specially what we are embarking on that is a new chapter in Mother Lankan history. We should headline our concerns more INLINE with the times/changes will be considered as positive criticism too.

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    Hello Native,
    Thanks for the response.

    The system peak demand was around 200MW in 1975 when Sri Lankan population was about 13 million. We are nearly 22 million now and the system peak demand is well in excess of 2000MW.
    I do not have information on the domestic, commercial and industrial components of the demand at the present time, but the tenfold increase is perhaps driven by domestic demand because more households have been connected to the grid.

    As such, it is not logical to conclude that the present power deficit is the result of gross mismanagement of the economy although I entirely agree with your observations on the performance of our politicians since independence.

    Sadly, Sri Lanka did not have leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and I agree that the political class destroyed Sri Lanka.
    We had politicians like Colvin, NM and Pieter Keuneman but our voters were not smart enough. Perhaps, Sri Lankans did not deserve them.

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      Sunil Abeyratne,
      These guys were hypocrites. Only thing they did was teaching workers to STRIKE even for the slightest shortcoming.
      They ruined private entrepreneurship.
      Their slogans were:
      ‘Weda adukaraw, padi wedi karaw’
      ‘Dhanapatheen sunkaraw’
      —–
      “We had politicians like Colvin, NM and Pieter Keuneman but our voters were not smart enough. Perhaps, Sri Lankans did not deserve them.”

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        Hello Eagle Eye,
        Thanks for the comments.
        The slogans may have been appropriate for some at that time while private entrepreneurs would have been frightened.
        I would argue that if the left was in power (Dr N M Perera owned a business and I do not have any information on the manner he treated his employees), there would have been a different policy framework.
        With social science, the evaluations of possible impacts of policy frameworks are not trivial tasks, although broad observations could be made.
        It is possible for different individuals to make divergent observations. As such your observations are as valid as mine.
        Sri Lanka had steel mills, tyre corporations, textile mills and before JRJ came into power. Industries were being established (quality was not great – for example blades). We opened the economy too early.
        One could say that the issues are complex and hence, opinions based on slogans may not be correct.

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          Sunil Abeyratne

          “Sri Lanka had steel mills, tyre corporations, textile mills and before JRJ came into power. Industries were being established (quality was not great – for example blades). “

          Did the state owned industries ever produce quality goods at affordable prices, and at sufficient quantity, …. or survived without being regularly bailed out by the Taxpayer?

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            Hello Native,

            Refer to your comment:
            Did the state owned industries ever produce quality goods at affordable prices, and at sufficient quantity, …. or survived without being regularly bailed out by the Taxpayer?

            I don’t know if successive governments had to bail out these industries and hence, I am unable to respond. Wonder if you know.

            USA protects its industries. Examples are noted below.
            USA bailed out the automobile manufacturing industry. [well-documented]
            USA also supports Boeing by grossly overpaying for defence related purchases, thus supporting the manufacture of commercial aircraft. Refer to Airbus arguments [WTO] to support its case against tariffs imposed by USA.
            General Motors will close down the Australian manufacturing facilities (the iconic Holden Brand) partly because there was no Australian financial support.
            At times, government support is essential to sustain manufacturing industries, although the costs of support need to be balanced against the overarching benefits. Obviously, there are many who have different views on government support to industries.

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              Sunil Abeyratne

              “USA bailed out the automobile manufacturing industry. [well-documented]”

              USA sends rockets to moon, mars, and beyond.
              Does Sri Lanka send rocket anywhere?
              Therefore it is ridiculous to compare USA with this little island.

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                Hello Native,
                We are digressing from the main topic on ‘transparency around electricity supply disruptions’!
                No comparisons were made with the USA. USA is just one example. Many other countries also support their industries.
                Sri Lanka, being a small country, has very strong reasons to protect and foster local industries as long as such action makes sense.

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                  S Abeyratne@

                  Sometime back now, Dr Harsha De Silva added that the srilankens should go for producing accessories to automobile companies as is the case with Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia and the like countries. Sure, we need to strengnthen the hands of the local industries but that alone would not help much for srilanken economy.
                  :
                  We can also export trained Nurses to European countries where they are now makeing every effort to hire the nurses from China. Nigerians still talk about srilanken graduate teachers to their schools, however, now the chances for such job contracts are no longer available to srilankens. Bangalideshis and Indians have capitalized the weaknesses fo the srilanken successive govts. Instead of cheap labour to ME, we should allow only trained nurses and technicians to find their jobs in Europe and ME. That can then increase the foreign exchange to the country.

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                    Hello Leelagemalli,

                    What you have noted is good policy!!

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                      Sunil Aberyratne,
                      :
                      I myself have met with Nigerians who go on praising srilanken teachers in their schools. There were srilanken science graduates that were then exported to Nigeria in 60ties and 70ties. That means those were the days that the govts of the island did long term good programs that brought significant amount of foreign exchange into the country. That also made the image of the country.
                      :
                      But exporting predominantly iliterate or unskilled housemaids to ME, they the rulers have made srilanka a country no better to Thailand. I go tto know from arab students that came to Europe for their Uni studies ,that each and every households were facilitated by srilanken housemaids. Most of them are caught by sex abuses and srilanka was considered by them as an another far poor country no different to philiphines.

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                      Dear Sunil,
                      .
                      immediately after SIRISENA got elected as the president of the country, entire europe thought that the nation would be guided properly but he ended up being caught by the very same bunch of thieves betraying the nation.
                      Today SIRISENA s favourite speech is only focused on the harm being done by monkeys to the vegetation, toally ignoring the Elephant-human conflicts costed the human lives in some part s of the country. He addresses the same audience as if he is born yesterday, I have no words to express my anger just looking at these bastards. This country would have been a great place if any divine forces would take the serious actions punishing them sooner than later.
                      :
                      Poverty levels in UVA province is beyond all margins. Nothern and some parts in southern areas are the same. But Rajaksehs run luxury life on the costs of the tax payers. How shameful they should be. They behave that they are born to abuse the POOR in this war torn nation.

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                  Sunil Abeyratne

                  “Sri Lanka, being a small country, has very strong reasons to protect and foster local industries as long as such action makes sense.”

                  Singapore is is a small country.
                  This island is rulled by dumasses, run by dumasses, state industries are run by dumasses, ………………….. These are the reasons as to why the state has to protect state owned industries which produces very low quality product at exorbitant prices using inefficient production process, ….. and the consumers are kept in a captive market where all those inefficiencies finally transferred expect them to pay for the.

                  We have Maoists who think the state could produce efficiently and profitably. They still live in a fool’s paradise.
                  Out of 300 state owned firms only a handful made any profits, that is because all sorts of protections are enforced and barriers to entry are maintained.

                  The state corporations are virtually monopolies.

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              Sunil A,
              “Did the state owned industries ever produce quality goods at affordable prices, and at sufficient quantity, “
              I may be able to provide you with an answer.
              Quality goods? Now and then, yes. Kelani tyres were good (for the time) and affordable but only because imports were banned. Now CEAT uses the same factory and exports tyres. Who lost? The hundreds of surplus workers.
              Paper Corp products were cheap but of awful quality. Ditto for the various textiles, which anyway had to be rationed due to insufficient supply.
              The problem with government support ,as in the case of SriLankan, is that WE have to pay. I suppose a few hundred dollars is nothing to a US taxpayer, but it’s life or death to us.

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                Hello old codger,
                Thank you for the information on local industries. What I know is out of date.
                I entirely agree with you on the disaster called SriLankan!

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                OC
                Several profitable state corporations were privatized under Premadasa and later CBK (her pretext was war).
                *
                As for Kenlani tyres, a major mistake was to use natural rubber which, even at the time, was too good in quality to put on the road. We should have sold the natural rubber and used the funds to buy synthetic rubber.
                *
                Our cement was excellent.
                Paranthan Chemicals did a good job.
                There was a time when we sought after Eastern Paper Mills products, amid imported stationery. (Until very recently, I held on to their CR notebooks that I used for taking down lecture notes nearly 60 years ago. The pages were pretty fresh and the paper strong.)
                Things started to go wrong in late the 1970s, and terribly wrong by the 1980s.
                *
                I would not complain about the quality of the Textile Mills Corporation products. Good value for money. The mills were not designed to meet all national demand.

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                  SJ
                  Thank you very much for the information!

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                  SJ,
                  Personally, I wouldn’t mind a limited sort of austerity. Perhaps just 3 brands of cars. For everybody, MP’s included. Limits on superfluous gadgetry and floor area of housing, for example. But that wouldn’t be very popular, would it?

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                    OC
                    Thanks.
                    We have landed unannounced int a consumer society. (It is easier to find king coconut on Colombo than in a village not very far away, where Coke rules.)
                    The frugal habits under Mrs B, although a little outlandish at times, are unimaginable now in the more sober forms like you suggest.
                    *
                    “But that wouldn’t be very popular, would it?”— Typically your understatement.

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        EE
        Kindly tell us what out private entrepreneurs, especially post-1977, have done for the country, but for a handful whom we should respect for they helped local industry to grow.
        The rest joined hands with corrupt regimes to fill their pockets and sell out to foreigners.

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    Dear All

    (1)A critical review of future of energy/consumption rates and not all we get told I true
    Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans | Full Documentary | Directed by Jeff Gibbs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-California's Renewable Energy Problem

    (2)California’s Renewable Energy Problem – this gives us the real life comparison/lessons learned from engineering point of view
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5cm7HOAqZY

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    Sunil Abeyratne

    “USA bailed out the automobile manufacturing industry. [well-documented]”

    USA sends rockets to moon, mars, and beyond.
    Does Sri Lanka send rocket anywhere?
    Therefore it is ridiculous to compare USA with this little island.

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      Yes we do send rockets. Skyrockets at monkeys like you.

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    Standard procedures: What is missing here are standard procedures. They can be strengthened by Check lists.

    To avoid such disasters we have to use these as in the airline industry, where a check list is there for all imaginable scenarios. Sometimes pilots are hard pressed in emergency situations and bypass them to save time. But on the ground there is no excuse for not having them.

    Switching instructions: The other was the issue of HV switching instructions by the System Control Center. They had a small note-book with carbon paper where all HV instructions were written down. at SCC. At the Power Station end the Senior Control Technician would have his own notebook where he would write down the instructions received from SCC.

    Example of a Switching Instruction: At Riffa, on the Refinery No. 1 66 kV circuit, switch off 66 kV circuit breaker. This voice message would be received by RPS tech on the carrier telephone, written down in the notebook and then repeated back to SCC tech. The SCC would re-read the message to RPS and if they find no discrepancies the switching instruction is carried out.

    Note the basic structure?
    1) Location,
    2) Rated voltage
    3) Operation to be carried out
    4) Equipment on which it is to be carried out

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