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Cabinet has given the go-ahead to ‘maximise’ use of thermal power in the short term, as officials warn of a drought and an inevitable capacity shortfall in the months ahead.

A delay in the North East monsoon in the largely hydropower dependant country has seen reservoir levels fall to an average 31.8 percent as at Wednesday.

Cabinet spokesperson Professor G.L. Peiris said Wednesday that a decision had been taken to maximise the use of thermal power in the short term, but did not elaborate.

With zero inflows into the reservoirs currently, the system is generating some five million units of hydropower a day, as against a demand of about 23 million units, Energy sector specialist, Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya said.

“We are already in the middle of the drought,” warns Siyambalapitya.

An unfortunate but predictable lack of adequate thermal generating capacity in the system could mean a round of blackouts, if rains continue to fail or emergency power. [Read more]