HomeAsiaSri Lanka imposes longest power cuts in 26 years

Sri Lanka imposes longest power cuts in 26 years

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Tuesday (Mar 1) introduced nationwide seven-and-a-half hour day by day power cuts, the longest in greater than 1 / 4 of a century, as its overseas trade disaster leaves it unable to import oil.

The Public Utilities Commission mentioned it was a “black day” for the island nation because it authorised the electrical energy rationing beginning Wednesday with power stations working out of gas.

“What we are facing is not an issue of electricity capacity, but a foreign exchange crisis,” the regulatory fee mentioned including that the nation was unable to search out {dollars} to finance oil imports.

The cuts are the longest imposed since 1996, when the nation relied on hydropower for as a lot as 80 % of its electrical energy and a protracted drought noticed reservoirs run dry.

Under a brand new directive, all state establishments had been additionally ordered to modify off their air conditioners in the afternoon to avoid wasting vitality,

Bus operators mentioned they had been unable to get diesel and about half the 11,000 fleet didn’t function, though a public vacation Tuesday restricted the results.

“We will see the full impact of the diesel shortage tomorrow when people go back to work,” the chairman of the personal bus operators affiliation, Gemunu Wijeratne, instructed AFP.

One of Sri Lanka’s largest gas suppliers, Lanka IOC, put up costs by as a lot as 12 per cent on Saturday whereas the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) mentioned it too requested the federal government to permit it to boost costs.

Nonetheless, many pumps had been dry on Tuesday and there have been lengthy queues at petrol stations which had been nonetheless open.

Energy minister Udaya Gammanpila instructed reporters on Saturday that the power disaster had been introduced on by the greenback scarcity, which he described because the “worst economic crisis since independence” from Britain in 1948.

Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, a key foreign-exchange earner, collapsed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the federal government imposed a broad import ban in (*26*) 2020 to avoid wasting overseas foreign money.

The nation is now in the grip of an financial disaster, with widespread shortages, together with meals, medicines, automotive components and cement, and supermarkets pressured to ration staple meals together with rice, sugar and milk powder.

The shortages pushed meals inflation to 25 per cent in January with general inflation at 16.8 per cent.

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