Sri Lanka Turns Off Street Lights; Know Why

Colombo: Sri Lanka has decided to turn off its street lights.

The reason?

It will help save electricity in a country which has been hit by its worst economic crisis in decades. There have been widespread power cuts across the island nation and the stock market has been affected as well, triggering a halt in trade as stock prices fell.

With the Sri Lankan government unable to pay for fuel imports due to a lack of foreign exchange, the country of 22 million people is having to face power cuts for up to 13 hours a day.

“We have already instructed officials to shut off street lights around the country to help conserve power,” Lanka’s Power Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.

Sri Lanka is banking on a diesel shipment from India under a $500 million credit line. However, Wanniarachchi warned Sri Lankans that the situation was not likely to improve any time soon.

“Once that (diesel from India) arrives, we will be able to reduce loadshedding hours but until we receive rains, probably some time in May, power cuts will have to continue,” Wanniarachchi said, referring to rolling power cuts. “There’s nothing else we can do.”

Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) reduced daily trading to two hours from the usual four-and-a-half for the remainder of this week on brokers’ request.

But with share prices sliding after the market opened on Thursday, CSE halted trading for 30 minutes.

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