Colombo, Mar 31 (EFE).- Sri Lanka’s state-owned power utility firm imposed Thursday a record 13-hour power cut due to lack of fuel as the country grapples with a severe dollar shortage, rendering it unable to make timely payments for fuel shipments.
The utility provider Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) announced a blackout for 13 hours in three phases for Thursday.
Government officials, who asked not to be named, told EFE the sudden decision to increase the duration of the blackout from Wednesday’s 10 hours came after the authorities were unable to pay a diesel shipment.
Officials privy to the situation revealed that although the Sri Lankan government had promised payment for the shipment, the cargo vessel remained in the international waters and refused to enter Sri Lanka’s territorial waters until the payment was made.
“We are receiving an Indian ship under the $500 million credit line on Apr.2 and the CEB can assure the people that the power cut duration could be reduced below four hours,” CEB chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando told reporters on Wednesday.
Thermal power accounts for over 70 percent of the total electricity generated in Sri Lanka.
While the government had assured the people the duration of the power cuts would gradually reduce from Mar.5, the situation has only worsened due to lack of fuel.
This has also has resulted in large queues for diesel and petrol outside gas stations despite record price hikes.
The government has been considering asking its employees to work from home due to the power cuts and the shortage of fuel for transport, according to officials.
Sri Lanka currently lacks sufficient US dollars to import essentials like wheat flour, milk powder, fuel, and medicines. EFE