Kanungu mini-hydro dam starts work today amid power outages

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Kanungu mini-hydro dam starts work today amid power outages


By Perez Rumanzi

Posted  Tuesday, November 22   2011 at  00:00

In Summary

Step forward. The dam, whose construction started in 2008 and ended six months ago is expected to serve most of the south-western districts, including eastern DR Congo

The Ishasha Mini -Hydro Power Plant in Kanungu District will today be switched on to the national grid as the country grapples with power outages.

The 6.5 megawatts mini-hydropower dam, whose construction began in June 2008, is expected to be commissioned by President Museveni amid expectations that the increased load-shedding will be reduced in the south-western region.

Areas to benefit
The power generated by this new plant is expected to support development of industries and stimulate other areas of investments in Kanungu, Rukungiri, Kabale and the surrounding rural areas, including eastern DR Congo.

The mini-hydro power station was constructed on Ishasha River in Kyeijura Kanyantorogo Sub-county by a Sri Lankan company, ECO Power, under a memorandum of understanding with the government to operate the station for 30 years by selling the power to government through the national grid.

The power generated was aligned to the national grid after construction six months back.

The estimated costs for the dam and power plant is approximately $14 million (about Shs40 billion).

The project was funded by three Sri-Lankan financial institutions namely; National Development Bank of Sri-Lanka, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank of Sri-Lanka.

Locals, however, say like other places across the country, they still face load-shedding and want to have un interrupted power supply now that the generation of power is at home.

“There is no way we can be sure that we shall benefit from the dam because we experience load-shedding frequently yet we see the power generated every day. We should not be cut off power at all,” said Mr Frank Byaruhanga, the area LC5 councillor.

No worry
But the Executive Director Rural Electrification Agency, Mr Charles Turyahikayo, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the dam will be able to serve a wider population given its production capacity.

He urged Kanungu residents not to worry about power interruptions.

The development comes after Kinyara Sugar Works in Masindi, about two months ago sold its locally-generated power to Umeme in a bid to improve rural electrification and boost the power sector.

Several facilities, most especially health countrywide, have in the resent weeks grounded due to lack of electricity.

In Kampala, power outages led to demonstrations by businessmen last week, citing loss of income in the process.

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