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Sri Lanka partially faces power cuts following power station fire

COLOMBO, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A fire broke out at an electricity substation in Kotugoda on the suburbs of the capital Colombo Friday, triggering power cuts in several areas near the capital.

The fire occurred just days after an explosion in another power transformer caused an islandwide power failure.

Ceylon Electricity Board officials said malfunction had caused the fire. Firefighters had been called in, local media said.

The fire broke out just two days after security forces were deployed to protect all power installations and substations in the country after the government raised suspicions that the nationwide power failure could be an act of sabotage.

On Thursday, Deputy Minister of Power and Energy Ajith Perera told reporters that there was a serious threat to the country's power and energy system which led to the deployment of the military.

He said police had launched investigation into the failure, and President Maithripala Sirisena had appointed a special committee to probe the matter.

He assured that the government was putting in place all measures to rectify and upgrade the power and energy system in order to provide uninterrupted electricity supply to all parts of the country in the future.

Sunday's power failure which lasted for over seven hours was the longest to be reported in Sri Lanka in 20 years.

It was the third country-wide power failure to be reported in Sri Lanka since the new government won a parliamentary election in August last year.