A section of Bujagali Hyropower Dam before it was switched on. Even thought the dam has improved power supply, Ugandans continue to experience outages due to a number of inefficiencies in the distribution chain. Credit: Daily Monitor
Advertisement Advertisement  
A section of Bujagali Hyropower Dam before it was switched on. Even thought the dam has improved power supply, Ugandans continue to experience outages due to a number of inefficiencies in the distribution chain. Credit: Daily Monitor

Different areas in Uganda continued to experience power outages barely a month after the government promised stable power supply with the switching on of Bujagali Hydro Power Dam.

The power outages currently in the Central region have lowered the hope that many particularly industrialists, the general business community and individual consumers had got following the full commissioning of the 250MW from Bujagali last month.

The investment valued at $900 million is currently the country’s largest hydropower plant and had been tipped to stabilise power supply as the country works to fast – truck the construction of Karuma Dam.

In a telephone interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Everest Kayondo, the chairman of Kampala City Traders Association said the commissioning of Bujagali had not changed the electricity situation as blackouts continue to prevail.

Minimal improvement
“There has been minimal improvement yet we expected better services after the switch on.”

However, in an email, Ms Charlotte Kemigyisha, the Umeme public relations officer acknowledged the current blackouts and said the Mukono outage had been corrected yesterday while works to resolve the Mityana outage had been scheduled for December.

“Entebbe, Mityana and Masaka have had intermittent power supply over the past two weeks due to a fault that occurred at the Mutundwe Substation. Mukono outages have been a result of faults on the Namanve substation,” Ms Kemigyisha said.

She added: “The current supply is sufficient however stability is determined by a number of factors among them vandalism and the current weather patterns (heavy storms) that affect areas around the country.”

Following the launch of Bujagali, Aggreko thermal generators were switched off while Jacobsen and Electromaxx are still on the grid.

The current outages come at a time when power generation is reportedly above demand. According to Umeme, total generation today stands at 580MW against demand of about 487MW.

However, stakeholders have on several occasions criticised Umeme for lacking the will to sufficiently supply power as well as reducing loses.

Last year, Mr Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy said Umeme would need at least $400 million (Shs1 trillion) to invest in the upgrade of its distribution system.

The company had projected it would spend Shs2.7 billion annually on replacing rotten poles, Shs3 billion on distributing transformers, Shs3.4 billion on primary sub-stations and Shs0.8 billion on conductors.

The blackouts that have been on for the last two months, have peaked a week after Umeme closed its Initial Public Offering (IPO), where it sought to moblise Shs170 billion for paying off a shareholder loan as well as uplifting its investment capital.

Information from Daily Monitor was used in this report.