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Incomplete power transmission line led to nation-wide blackout

16 December 2023 06:32 am - 19     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, Dec 16 (Daily Mirror) - The failure to complete the construction of the power transmission line linking Kotmale, Polpitiya, Padukka and Athurugiriya resulted in the inability to avoid an all-island blackout, a top engineer said.

The blackout occurred last Saturday after the transmission line from Kotmale to Biyagama tripped due to a lightning strike, according to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).

At the time, the line was carrying about 500MW, while the total country's demand was around 1500MW. The tripping of the line resulted in the loss of one-third of the supply, leading to a severe underfrequency below the limits tolerable by the other generators supplying the load. Consequently, these generators also tripped, causing an island-wide blackout.

A top engineer who wished to remain anonymous since he is not authorized to talk to the press told Daily Mirror another power line to carry electricity generated from the hydropower stations in the central hills was under construction but it could not be completed due to the economic crisis. It is a transmission line from Kotmale to Athurugiriya via Polpitiya and Pandukka. He said the Polpitiya-Padukka stretch had been completed.

“We want to complete work on the Kotmale- Polpitiya stretch in main. Had the project been completed, we could have avoided an all-island blackout,” he said.

It is a project financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and launched in 2015.


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  Comments - 19

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  • Robin Banks Saturday, 16 December 2023 06:52 AM

    So it's not a solar flare or Santa Claus hitting the power lines? We consumers are sure of only one thing, our electricity will be cut off if we delay to pay the bill. Can't wait for the next elections throw the corrupt incompetent minister out.

    Nilmini Welivita Saturday, 16 December 2023 06:57 AM

    Well well f....me sideways...I thought it was a lightning strike. Silly me.

    Mahila Saturday, 16 December 2023 02:46 PM

    Cause of Failure LIGHTNING STRIKE - none else!!!??? Restoration of Service Process had to await REPAIR of damaged electrical Gear, in the ABSENCE OF PLANNED ALTERNATIVE carrier/transmission system!!!??? Alternative system process to alleviate delay in Restoring Power Supply wasn't available OR NOT "up and running" to meet situation as Planned DUE FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS!!!??? Sri Lankans have been well and truly F-----, irrespective, whether Sideways, Top-down or Bottom-up! SC has already delivered verdict on, CULPRITS ARE – F_____ the Financial System to BANKRUPTCY!??

    Nimal Saturday, 16 December 2023 07:33 AM

    A project started in 2015 and yet to be completed! What a proud achivement for the CEB in particular and for this sordid regime in general.

    Bandu Saturday, 16 December 2023 08:02 AM

    If financed in 2015, so why take so long. Cannot be lack of money. What was project completion time. Tardiness of CEB

    Spartacus Saturday, 16 December 2023 09:56 AM

    What a joke. Don't your'll practice power segragation? This means generation from source A is for a specific area, source B for another area and source C for another. Therefore if source A trips, it will be only that area losing power. This is basic electrical. I suggest all Engineers in CEB first learn basic house wiring.

    Onlooker Saturday, 16 December 2023 12:49 PM

    Actually Ring Main distribution system is the most preferred due to it having many advantages. Any breakdown in any area is compensated by other supply sources taking up the slack, not segregated systems which can have more frequent breakdowns.

    Mahila Saturday, 16 December 2023 02:28 PM

    This is not confined to a single House, but many of them and segregation or Radial Distribution, WOULDN'T PROVIDE the FLEXIBILITY of RING MAIN DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM in averting a TOTAL BLACKOUT!! In case of failure of single generator or segment of the Transmission lines, which is the case in this instance – Lightning Strike, enables Temporarily SWITHCING-ON provisioned NON-GENERATION ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM!!! Believe it was a 3-4 year project considering the Terrain traversed and distance involved!!!??? JAICA had no alternative, but STOP WORK, if funds weren’t available for local Installation!!!??? All those people who mismanaged economy named by SC, OVERSPENT and OVER-BORROWED, at HIGH INTEREST RATES, W/O RoI are People Responsible for Malady – Not Power Ministry/CEB!!!???

    Lalit Saturday, 16 December 2023 11:15 AM

    If you have proper grid management then such tripping will not take place... You cannot blame consumer as excessive demand was not made on the grid...separation of network would have avoid this nation wide tripping... Since 2015 Japanese have put up with tardiness speak volumes about sriloanka

    Mahila Saturday, 16 December 2023 10:14 PM

    IT IS NOT starting with 2015!!!??? ABSOLUTELY WRONG DATELINE!!! IT SHOULD READ AS END 2019, post Gotabaya Presidency, abrupt unilateral decision, Cancellation JAICA funded LRT project after 3 years - midway in contract after Carriages and components, were ready for delivery - to Colombo for Project fulfilment and commissioning!!!??? Refer to SC ruling, find out Names of Culprits!!!??? Because of 100's of Rail cars already manufactured, JAICA diverted those to, Dacca, Bangladesh (BD) LRT project signed up by BD in 2019, completed and commissioned by January 2021!!!??? Probably, JAICA and Japanese for cancellation of order OF THIS JAICA ORFER TOO, to supply another deserving country!!!??? Sri Lankans fallacy, in thinking the “world revolves around them”!!!??? Just like some rubbish, “ALWAYS BREAKDOWN” LAKVIJAYA PP 1, 2, AND 3 which NO other would want!!!!???

    DOT Saturday, 16 December 2023 12:21 PM

    If an ordinary citizen made such an error like incomplete bill payment; how will CEB react?

    Rip Winkle Saturday, 16 December 2023 02:46 PM

    First it was lightning. Then when the public didn't buy it, an 'investigation' was initiated. Now this. Well, the public still doesn't buy it.

    KoffieMoffie Saturday, 16 December 2023 03:21 PM

    3rd World De Luxe

    DISGUSTED Saturday, 16 December 2023 04:00 PM

    Project started in 2015 FUNDED by JAPAN and YET NOT COMPLETED. TIME TO GO TO THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT AND CHECK IUF THE PROJECT HAS ALREADY BEEN FULLY FUNDED AND DETAILS OF FUNDS RELEASE, THEN GO TO THE PRESIDENT AND ASK FOR ANSWERS.

    BBM Saturday, 16 December 2023 04:40 PM

    How this kind of a situation is handled in a country like England or Germany or else a country where 240V distribution to the consumer takes place? If this explanation is actually a joke to a knowledgeble unbiased outsider, may be it is high time to introduce AI for load balancing because people cannot trust these unofficial or official statements of the highly politicized Board. Why can"t the supply be restored within an hour to all areas? It looks like this country has to be governed by an AI system: all govt. and private sector imports

    Mohamed Burhan Saturday, 16 December 2023 06:53 PM

    As commented following day after black out was rectified unforeseen technical errors are their.no issue and no issue with people of matters like this.only issue electricity tariff going up.

    DD Saturday, 16 December 2023 07:33 PM

    Ring Distribution is what should be done so as to be able to divert power if one segment fails it will be picked up and re directed through the other side. This is basic way of doing network management. However a project initiated by JAICA is not completed for 8 years, it's a crime. I guess JAICA funded and the funds dissapeared or JAICA stopped funding as the funds were disappearing. The CEB is pain and burden on the consumer, it should be privatised and re structured so as to provide uninterrupted service to the consumer who will pay for service rendered without any interruptions and see the CEB is a profit making entity.

    Mahila Saturday, 16 December 2023 10:39 PM

    Problem is easily solved. if all the queries and questions are addressed to be answered by those named in Supreme Court, “RULING ON SRI LANKAN ECONOMIC COLLAPSE” and ensuring, the LEADING 'FOURSOME', short of skinning them alive WHICH IS NOT RECCOMMENDED, THEY AREN’T ELECTED/APPOINTED to any SL public office, including but not limited, to position of 'TEAM LEADER' at CMC Scavenging unit!!! Result would be Total disaster!!! JAICA funded project Non Completion – cause of Power failure – lack of LOCAL PROJECT COMPONENT FUNDING, ARBITRARY REDUCTION OF VAT, DUTY, TAXES – Bankruptcy of SL!!!???

    Waco Sunday, 17 December 2023 09:21 AM

    What was the Minister incharge , doing. His gross negligence, hence full damage must be recovered from his wealth.


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