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Umeme to resume 24-hour load-shedding

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By WALTER WAFULA

Posted  Tuesday, September 27  2011 at  00:00
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Power distributor Umeme Limited resumed day and night load-shedding yesterday after Jacobsen Uganda, a thermal power generator, reduced its supply by 43 Mega Watts.

In an interview last evening, Mr Dag Moen, the managing director of Jacobsen, told Daily Monitor that the plant has been forced to reduce its supply to 7MW from 50MW because it has not been paid by the government.
“It’s because of lack of fuel and shortage of cash. There are two bills (due for payment) which are late,” he said. “It becomes difficult to run without money.”

The firm uses diesel to run its generator. This newspaper could not readily establish how much Jacobsen is owed but the company plans to generate only 7MW until it is cleared by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), which buys electricity from generators.

“We started today. We hope to be up and running by Thursday,” Mr Moen said. Ms Charlotte Kemigyisha, Umeme’s communication manager, yesterday admitted the firm has been forced to resume load-shedding because of shortage in power supply.

Last Wednesday, Umeme started reducing day time load-shedding after hydropower generator, Eskom, stepped up power generation by 54MW. The increase reduced Uganda’s energy shortfall to between 110MW-120MW. But that will now fall to 67MW -77MW until Jacobsen resumes generating power at full capacity.

Mr Kenneth Otim, the spokesman of UETCL, said President Museveni has cleared payments for all power suppliers despite delays of payment. “I will need to confirm with our accountant to see if we have the money or if it is still with the government,” he said in a separate interview.

Electricity demand in Uganda is currently at 445MW but supply stands at a maximum of 334MW and is expected to fall further until the Bujagali hydropower plant in Jinja comes on stream later this year or early 2012.

wwafula@ug.nationmedia.com