The Northern peninsula was connected to the National power grid after a lapse of 25 years, under the patronage of president Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. Concurrent to the connecting of the Northern peninsula to the national grid, President Rajapaksa also declared open the Kilinochchi grid substation yesterday.
In order to facilitate electricity supply to the North 238 power transmission towers had to be constructed through the most rugged terrain, at a cost of Rs. 3200 million, according to the ministry of power and energy. The funding for this project was granted at concessionary interest rates by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The ministry of power and energy pointed out that subsequent to the signing of the 06 October 1987 Indo Sri Lanka peace accord, and three days after the commencement of the “Pawan” offensive, the tigers completely destroyed the Northern peninsula power network. Since then the Northern peninsula had not been connected to the national grid.
The second stage of the project which is the establishment of the 132 KW high tension transmission line from Kilinochchi to Chunnakkam, is expected to be completed by mid 2013 and energized. Another grid substation will also be built in Chunnakkam. According to the minister of power and energy Patali Champika Ranawaka the level of electrification which was at 40% in the Jaffna peninsula has now reached 95%.
With the aim of providing electricity to the rest of the people in the region a thermal power plant totally owned by the CEB is also to be built in Jaffna. The minister pointed out that construction work on this 24 MW heavy fuel thermal power plant will commence in five months.
Once this thermal power plant is commissioned the two private power plants Agrico and Northern power will be removed from the national grid. By this the current losses of Rs. 2800 million per year could be reduced by around Rs. 1500 million. The minister further pointed out that in future power stations will be built with a capacity of around 400 KW.