Ceylon Electricity Board

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Ceylon Electricity Board
ලංකා විදුලි බල මණ්ඩලය
இலங்கை மின்சார சபை
Ceylon Electricity Board Logo
Government-owned corporation overview
Type Electricity generation,
Electricity transmission,
Electricity distribution,
Electricity retailing
Headquarters Colombo, Sri Lanka
06°55′49″N 79°50′50″E / 6.93028°N 79.84722°E / 6.93028; 79.84722Coordinates: 06°55′49″N 79°50′50″E / 6.93028°N 79.84722°E / 6.93028; 79.84722
Motto Enrich Life Through Power
Annual budget 204.7 Billion LKR (2014)
Minister responsible
Government-owned corporation executives
  • Mr. W.P. Ganegala[2], Chairman
  • Eng. AK Samarasinghe, General Manager
Parent department Department Of Power And Energy
Website www.ceb.lk

The Ceylon Electricity Board (also abbreviated as CEB), is the largest electricity company in Sri Lanka, a body corporate established under Act of Parliament no. 17 of 1969. With a market share of nearly 100%, it controls all major functions of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and retailing in Sri Lanka. It is one of the only two on-grid electricity companies in the country; the other being Lanka Electricity Company (LECO). The company earned approximately LKR 204.7 billion in 2014, with a total of nearly 5.42 million consumer accounts.

Established in 1969, (before 1969, it was a government department: Department of Government Electrical Undertakings — DGEU) the company now has a total installed capacity of 3,932 MW of which approximately 2,115 MW is from thermal energy, and 1,817 MW is from hydroelectricity and Wind. Due to low wind resource, rough terrain and poor road conditions in Sri Lanka, CEB owns only one 3 MW wind farm in Hambantota, known as the Hambantota Wind Farm. The farm consists of five turbines, measuring 600 KW each. However 128 MW of Wind power plants owned by private sector (IPP) are already connected to CEB's National Grid. CEB also manages hydroelectric dams such as the Victoria Dam, and the Norocholai Coal Power Station.

Mission of CEB[edit]

To develop and maintain an efficient, coordinated and economical system of electricity supply to the whole of Sri Lanka, while adhering to our core values: Quality,Service to the nation,Efficiency and effectiveness, Commitment, Safety, Professionalism, Sustainability

Electricity Generation[edit]

Hydro power[edit]

Electricity generation by CEB is primarily done by hydro power. Hydro power is the oldest and most dependent source of electricity generation, taking a share of nearly 42% of the total available grid capacity in December 2014, and 37% of power generated in 2014.[3] Hydropower generation facilities has been constantly under development since the introduction of the national grid, but is currently declining due to the exhaustion of the resource.

In 2014, then Media Spokesperson at the CEB, Senajith Dassanayake said the generation of hydro power has dropped to 37%; as a result, 60 percent of the electricity needs have to be fulfilled by thermal energy.[4]

Thermal Power[edit]

The Norocholai Coal Power Station, the only coal-fired power station in the country is owned by CEB; it was commissioned in late-2011 and finished in 2014, under loans from Export-Import Bank of China. It added further 300 megawatts of electrical capacity to the grid.[5] The Sampur Coal Power Station, is currently under consideration in Trincomalee.[6]


In 2011, Ceylon Electricity Board opened a new coal power plant named Puttalam Lakvijaya. On 13 February 2011 it was synchronized with the system.[7]

On 17 September 2014, US$1.35 billion coal-fired Norochcholai Power Station was commissioned by the Chinese President Xi Jinping on his visit to Sri Lanka. The Export-Import Bank of China provided a US$450 million loan for the first 300 megawatt unit at the power plant.[8] The power plant was officially commenced on 16 September 2014.[9]

Blackouts and shutdowns[edit]

On October 2010, during a test run, a fire broke out in the chimney due to clogging. Splits in the cooling system piping triggered a shutdown down of the power plant. The Ceylon Electricity Board decided to institute blackouts to households and Industries for three hours a day until the fault is fully repaired.[8]

On December 2013, more leaks were discovered in the cooling system, the CEB decided that the plant was too dangerous to operate at the moment. The CEB requested assistance from CMEC, and the company said that it would take about six weeks to fix the faults. After negotiations, the plant was repaired by CMEC and brought back online. A day later it failed once more and was shut down again for six more days.

In 2014, then Minister of Power and Energy, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, revealed that the Norochcholai power plant had been offline for 271 days out of the 1086 days since it had been operating.[8]

On 25 February 2016, the entire country of Sri Lanka experienced a 3-hour blackout due to a lightning striking the national power grid.[10]

On 13 March 2016, Sri Lanka experienced another 7 hour island wide blackout due to a damaged transformer in the 220kV Substation at Biyagama. It is considered to be the worst nationwide power outage in 20 years. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed a five-member committee to investigate the blackout. Due to initial suspicions of sabotage, President Maithripala Sirisena deployed troops to guard electrical installations until the investigation was completed. The CEB also reported that the outage caused Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant to fail, resulting in a loss of 900 Mega Watts to the National Grid.[11][12][13] On March 23, 2016, Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya notified parliament that the reason for the power outage was a lack of regular maintenance of power installations.[14] The engineer in charge of the Biyagama Substation had previously reported that a key transformer needed maintenance; however, no repairs were made.[15]


Ceylon Electricity Board has lost 25.5 billion rupees in 2011, and run up debts of 121 billion rupees with a petroleum distributor[who?] and independent power producers.[16]

In 2012, the CEB lost 61.2 billion rupees and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation which supplied fuel below cost 89.7 billion rupees. To cover up the loss, the CEB increased power tariffs in large scales. The CEB expected to get revenues of 223 billion rupees—or 45 billion rupees more than the earlier tariff—from the price hike, but subsequently lost 33 billion rupees in 2013 on total expenses of 256 billion rupees.[17]

On 16 September 2014, after officially opening a completed $1.35 billion Chinese-financed 900 MW coal power plant project, Sri Lankan President at the time, Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the nation saying that the electricity bills of the people will be reduced by 25%.[9] The CEB stated that it will take about two weeks to come up with a process of creating electricity bills to reflect the reduction in prices.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hon. Minister's Message". Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Our Management". CEB. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Demand Side Management - Ceylon Electricity Board". Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Generation of hydro-power has decreased – observes CEB". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  5. ^ No more coal plants, retrieved 8 August 2010 
  6. ^ Ministry: Current energy projects (PDF), retrieved 7 August 2010 
  7. ^ "CEB Annual Financial Statement,2011". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "A New Coal Power Station the Coal Industry Won't Boast About". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Sri Lanka cuts energy price after start of Chinese-funded coal power plant". Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Sri Lanka suffers hours-long power blackout". The Star Malaysia, 25 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016. 
  11. ^ "Sri Lanka suffers hours-long power blackout". NDTV, 13 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Sri Lanka deploys troops after worst blackout in 20 years". DailyMail. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "Norochcholai out of action; power cuts to continue". Times Online. Retrieved 14 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Cause for power failures in Sri Lanka is lack of regular maintenance - Minister". ColomboPage News Desk, 23 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "Biyagama CE warned CEB often". Ceylon Today, 17 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Sri Lanka CEB loses rs25.5bn". Archived from the original on 9 May 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Sri Lanka power tariffs raised - Update ". Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "CEB says electricity bill reduction will not reflect immediately". Retrieved 20 September 2014. 

External links[edit]