Mt. Elgon Hydro power project stalls

Thursday June 24 2010

By David Mafabi

A proposed Shs32 billion hydro-power project meant to provide electricity to the communities not connected to the national grid around Mt. Elgon has stalled.
The Director Economic Regulation in the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), Mr Benson Mutambi, told Daily Monitor on Tuesday that in 2003 Mt Elgon Hydro Power Ltd won a contract to develop five hydro power sites near the border with Kenya.
The sites are expected to generate about 14MW.

He said since the company took over the sites at Lirima, Muyembe-Sirimityo and Dirigana rivers, no work has taken place.
“Ever since the permit was granted, there is no progress on site and efforts to terminate the permit have been frustrated by local politicians who won the project,” Mr Mutambi said.

“Why do we maintain such a contract with somebody who cannot do work? I think this must end to pave way for another company to takeover,” Mr Mutambi said.
He revealed that Electromaxx Uganda Ltd has expressed interest in taking over the projects.

‘Work going on’
The Director of Mt Elgon Hydro Power Ltd, Mr Patrick Namawa, however, said they have done feasibility studies on all the five sites around Mt Elgon and that they have started work on Muyembe-Sirimityo river power project.

“We started the works at Muyembe-Sirimityo river project and we are in the final stages of the financial closure in the 3rd quarter of the year because we found this project more viable after feasibility studies,” said Mr Namawa.

He said although they have not started work at Lirima and Dirigana, it will be done within the stipulated time.