Isimba dam gets new consultant

Friday January 19 2018

Hand over.  Officials from Artelia EAU &

Hand over. Officials from Artelia EAU & Environment and KKATT Consult Limited (left) receive the Isimba Dam project hand over report from Energy Infratech’s Sher Baluch (right). PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE  

By FREDERIC MUSISI

Kampala. The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) yesterday said the plethora of challenges, ranging from lackluster supervision, poor workmanship, quality assurance and physical defects, which have previously affected construction of the 183megawatts Isimba Dam will not alter its completion schedule.

UEGCL’s chief executive officer Harrison Mutikanga told journalists at the company’s offices in Bukoto that although they have a “big task ahead” the completion schedule remains August this year.
“We are currently at 75 per cent in terms of progress and the remaining 25 per cent can be completed in the next seven months,” Mr Mutikanga said.

He was speaking at the hand over ceremony of a new Owner’s Engineer (consultant) for the project, a joint venture of Artelia EAU & Environment from France and local company KKATT Consult Limited, from Energy Infratech PVT Ltd, an Indian firm.

Isimba and Karuma dams (the later expected to be 600megawatts) came under spotlight in 2016 following reports of shoddy works by their respective contractors coupled with poor supervision.
The two hydropower projects cost a combined $2 billion-dollar (Shs6.7 trillion).

Both dams are expected to be ready by end of this year, although some experts at the time of revelation of the shoddy works and infighting between UEGCL and ministry of Energy officials, cast doubt on the timeline.
Mr Mutikanga, however, said they were yet to receive any notice from the Isimba dam contractors indicating otherwise.

“Contractually, if there is a delay a contractor notifies the owner that there is going to be some delay. We have not had any notice so we are sticking to the schedule of August,” he said.
Energy Infratech’s, the supervisor on Isimba dam, firm’s woes started in 2016 on the heels of the shoddy work reports and consequently President Museveni ordered their termination.

Upon expiry of their first 40 months contract in September last year, the project site was handed back to UEGCL.
Officials of the new Owner’s Engineers, Artelia Eau & Environment, boost of experience in supervising quality technical work and standards from working on dam projects in countries such as Netherlands, Ethiopia and Pakistan.

The company is also supervising construction of the Rusumo Dam project along River Kagera to be used by Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
Meanwhile, last month reports from Karuma dam alleged that a section, underground tunnels and caverns, were improperly aligned in conformity to the required dimensional design which work the contractor Sinohydro was told to redo.

However, yesterday Mr Mutikanga referred queries on the Karuma defects to ministry of Energy which he said employed and is responsible for site supervisor.
He also said they had encountered some encumbrances in acquisition of land along the proposed corridor for the eviction line of power from Isimba.

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