Sunday August 3 2014

UETCL lines up Shs50b for city power supply upgrade


The Queensway Sub–station in Kampala is to undergo a $19.2 million (Shs49.92 billion) upgrade.
During the upgrade, engineers will install equipment to enable the sub–station take up 132 kilovolts (KV) from power generation companies, up from 33KV.

It is projected to improve the reliability and quality of electricity supply in Kampala, which has of recent been experiencing erratic supply forcing some businesses to invest in expensive diesel generators.

“The sub–station serves the southern areas of Kampala. There are many commercial consumers there. That is why we want to increase the voltage from 33KV to 132KV,” said Mr Kenneth Otim, the spokesperson of the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL).

Some of the southern suburbs of Kampala are home to many maize mills.
Maize mills, according to a 2010 report of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, consume 15 per cent of the electricity distributed in Kampala.

A 2013 World Bank report says poor electricity supply (partly a result of inappropriate electricity transmission and distribution assets) affects productivity of firms and the investments they inject into the production capacity.

“It is therefore essential for businesses to have reliable, good – quality electricity supply,” says the World Doing Business Report 2013.

Mr John Walugembe, the Executive Director of the Uganda Small Scale Industries Association, which represents 1, 500 enterprises, said despite the incidents of load-shedding, electricity supply has generally improved.

“Our thinking is that if the sub–station is upgraded, it will be able to handle more customers. This is positive news. We hope it will be expedited,” Mr Walugembe told the Sunday Monitor on Friday.

Meanwhile, Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the government have committed $5.4 million (Shs14 billion) towards the purchase of land and installation of supervisory control and data acquisition.