News and Views

Power shortages to end

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By Ibrahim Kasita 
The $860m Bujagali hydropower station has injected more electricity onto the national grid, eliminating day-time load-shedding.
Industrial players said a third unit is being tested and connected into the grid for consumption ahead of its complete launch in July. The station has five units, each with a capacity of 50 megawatts.
“We don’t expect any day-time load-shedding. More power is on the grid,” Dr. Benon Mutambi, the Electricity Regulatory Authority head said. “Likewise there will be little blackouts in the evening.”
Erias Kiyimba, the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company managing director, said electricity supply is back to the situation before thermal plants were phased out.
Consumers will not experience load-shedding for over a week. And the load-shedding will not be more than two hours.
It also means that power deficit during daytime will be met sufficiently from the previous 120MW. Deficit for evening time will go down to 20MW down from the previous 170 MW.
Eng Irene Muloni, the energy minister, explained that the Government took a strategic decision to phase out thermal power generators so as to reduce the money they were receiving for their operations.
Thermal power is three times more expensive than hydropower power. It is estimated that the Government was spending about sh20b per month to sustain thermal operations.
When fully commissioned, Bujagali hydropower project will produce 250MW.

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