20 July 2012

Uganda: Nyagak Power Dam to Be Commissioned On July 31

THE long-awaited Nyagak 3.5MW mini-hydro power dam in Zombo district will be commissioned on July 31, top officials have confirmed.

Bauisetti Narendra, the Spencon Services supervisor, said dry tests will start on July 26 followed by the technical commissioning.

Dry testing is carried out to bring power from the turbines into the transformer before it is connected onto the power lines.

"We are done and July 31 is set for the technical commissioning of the dam. We expect the political commissioning in October by the President," Narendra said.

He said once the dam has been technically commissioned, it will begin supplying power to the people of West Nile.

The technical commissioning comes at a time when leaders in West Nile have been demanding that the Government connects the region to the national grid to save it from the insufficient thermal power supply by the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO).

Frank Becker, the WENRECO general manager, explained that with Nyagak coming on board, there will be a 24- hour power supply in the region.

He, however, warned of power interruption during the dry testing period before uninterrupted supply can be enjoyed.

Becker also said there is a plan to extend the power transmission lines from Arua to Koboko-Oraba and Yumbe districts.

The power line from Nebbi will be extended to Pakwach. Robert Okumu, the Nebbi district LC5 chairperson, said the technical commissioning will be one of the greatest achievements in the region.

West Nile leaders have been accusing the government of deliberately delaying the project and using it as a political tool to mobilise support from the region.

The construction of the Nyagak dam was launched in 2006 as part of WENRECO's 20-year contract to supply power to the West Nile region.

The government and the Industrial Promotion Services Kenya, owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, agreed to set up a 1.5 megawatt heavy-oil thermal plant to provide electricity to the region.

This was supposed to be enhanced by the Nyagak project, which was expected to be commissioned in December 2008. But the project stalled due to financial difficulties and change of contractors.

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