Aug 18 (Xinhua) COLOMBO- A key $455 million Chinese funded power plant will resume operation in two weeks, Sri Lankan power minister said on Friday after its breakdown earlier in the week resulted in countrywide power cuts.
"There are some technical problems in the Lakvijaya power plant.
The Chinese company, theCeylon Electricity Board and the consultancy firm are now looking into these problems. I thinkwithin another two weeks' time we will be able to operate this plant again and restore 24-hourpower supply," Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka told Xinhua.
He added that the coal-fired power plant had become essential to meet daily power needs dueto a severe drought in the country that has reduced hydro-power generation.
The loss of the electricity generated by Lakvijaya power plant brought about two- hour powercuts that were extended to three hours from Thursday. The ministry has already announcedthat the daily power cuts will continue for 14 days.
"The Lakvijaya power plant is still in a defect-liability period and there are tests to be done. So Ithink that as far as the main machine is concerned it is ok but there are problems inthe auxiliaries and various technical details because of the unfamiliar nature of the coal powerplant."
However, he insisted that these issues would be overcome in time and commended theChinese government for their funding to construct the power plant.
"I think in time to come we will be able to overcome these technical and other difficulties andafter commissioning the second phase of the plant I think the two- decade power deficitproblem in Sri Lanka will be solved."
Vice Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board Anura Wijepala told Xinhua that the Lakvijayapower plant is expected to meet 30 percent of the island's entire electricity demand by the year2014.
"We still have faith in the main equipment. The breakdowns are as a result of faults in theauxiliary equipment. Those can be easily corrected. The Chinese company CMEC hasidentified those issues and together with our engineers they are working on it," Wijeypala said.