24 July 2017

Uganda: Govt Told to Invest in Low Power Voltage Lines

Kampala — Experts in Uganda's electricity industry have asked the government to invest more money in the development of retail low power voltage lines before the commissioning of Isimba and Karuma Hydro Power Dams whose construction is nearing accomplishment.

Eng. Dr. Frank Sebbowa, a Power Consultant at Frank Energy Consultants said for the government to benefit from the two power projects, there is need for it to extend power to the real productive users .

Sebbowa said the government has tried to develop the infrastructure for high voltage lines to evacuate power from Karuma and Isimba but on the final distribution lines government is silent.

"The construction of the two plants is moving fast and by the end of 2018 Isimba will be producing some power but below its total capacity where are we going to sale that Electricity.

"The Government should put up mechanism for such power to reach the end users in time. Government need to invest more in distribution because government has done very well in Generation and Transmission but for it to have economic value, the government must distribute the power to the end Users," said Sebbowa.

Speaking at the Energy and power breakfast meeting organized by Frank Energy Consultants Limited, Sebbowa noted that for the government to achieve its power accessibility projections especially in rural communities more focus should not build on generation but put up infrastructures that can transmit power to all corners in the country.

According to statistics only 7% of Ugandans in rural population have access to electricity yet the Government's 10 years plan for rural electrification strategy and plan (2013-2022) aims to raise this figure to 26% by 2022.

For Government to achieve its power accessibility goals in the rural communities, it has invested heavily in power generation particularly in developing min-hydro power station this has enabled government to increase on the volume of power generation in the country which now stands at 825MW.The number is expected to increase to 2500MW once the two power dams (Isimba and Karuma ) are switched on.

For the 2500 MW to be productive Government should support power distribution companies such as Umeme, Rural Electrification Agency and West Nile Rural Electrification Company to expand their distribution network since power distribution requires huge investment of which some of these companies cannot foot.

When contacted for comment on how ready they are to distribute more Power once Isimba and Karuma are switched on in the next two years, Sam Zimbe the Deputy Managing Director Umeme said Umeme is ready to tap the opportunities which will be offered by the two dams.

"Under our investment plan we are planning to increase on our distribution network.

"As power distributor we have started even establishing Sub Power Stations to beef up the quality of power being distributed in some localities because of the increasing demand for power," Zimbe said.

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