Wednesday September 13 2017

Power producer issues plan against blackouts

Part of the joint team at work at the 13

Part of the joint team at work at the 132 kV substation in Nalubaale on Sunday. COURTESY PHOTO 

By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Kampala- In a move to reduce power blackouts, Eskom Uganda has fitted Nalubaale power plant with a number of new equipment, the electricity producer has said in a statement.
The equipment fitted shall, among other things, hedge Nalubaale station, one of the major power plants in the country, against uncertainty that earlier saw it suffer power blackouts.

In July, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) gave Eskom Uganda up to this month (September) to fix the faults that led to power blackouts at Nalubaale and Kiira power stations in June.
The South African electricity company is responsible for maintenance and operation of Kiira and Nalubaale hydroelectric power stations.

The two power dams, located in Jinja, generate a combined capacity of 380MW of electricity, which is then surrendered to the national grid before being distributed by Umeme.
A letter written to the managing director of Eskom Uganda Limited, dated July 17, 2017, that Daily Monitor has seen, directed the fixing of what it highlighted as a “total power system failure” that occurred on June 22 at the two power stations by end of this month .
According to the letter by the power sector regulator, the company was not fixing the things it is supposed to with urgency, leaving the stations exposed to uncertainty.
In response, Eskom Uganda embarked on the directives and has since made headway.

“As a way of avoiding a repeat of the June 22nd blackout this year, Eskom and Partners UETCL and Umeme have embarked on replacement of the old earth shield wires on both 33kV and 132Kv substations at Nalubaale dam,”a statement issued by Eskom Uganda on Monday reads in part.
Good condition earth shield is crucial in protection against the effect of lightning among other things.

The statement further read: “The joint task took place on Sunday 10th September 2017 and involved spilling of water to avoid violation of technical permit limits and also to ensure adequate water supply to downstream power stations.
“The exercise will be finalised on September 24, when both substations will be given a clean bill of health.”
Bacground
Incident: On June 22, 2017 at around 17:48hrs, a blackout occurred at Nalubaale and Kiira Power Stations. Preliminary findings showed that the incident was triggered by an overhead earth shield wire which broke and fell on the live equipment below.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com

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