Yumbe. Government has commissioned a 4.6 Mega Watt (MW) generator to boost power supply in West Nile.
The region initially boosted of 3.5 MW power generation capacity and the additional 4.6MW brings to 8.1MW electricity supply in the region.
Another 8MW plant will be powered at the end of June to increase the supply to about 16MW, according to the State minister for Energy, Mr Simon D’Ujanga.
During the commissioning of the project in Yumbe District on Saturday, Mr D’Ujanga said the surplus will be sufficient enough to supply the region for the next two years.
He said government contracted Eletromaxx, the power generation company that operates in Tororo, to shift some of the generators to Arua to address the power crisis in West Nile.
“In order to address the power supply situation in the West Nile before the national grid is extended to the region and before completion of Nyagak III hydro project, the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has mobilised additional thermal generation to West Nile using one of the already licensed generation companies, Electromaxx Uganda Limited,” the minister said.
Mr D’Ujanga said out of the licensed 50MW thermal generation by the company, another 8MW will be transferred to West Nile.
He said with the installation of additional 8MW, West Nile will have sufficient power as the government embarks on construction of other mini hydro power stations and connection to the national grid.
He said works on Nyagak 111 have already commenced and will be completed by 2022, bringing the total amount of power generated from West Nile to close to 20MW.
Mr D’Ujanga said West Nile will soon have three alternative routes for national grid connection, with the first running from Kole-Gulu-Nebbi to Arua during the first phase. He said the second option will be from Karuma-Olwiyo-Nebbi-Arua.
He said once all the alternative routes are completed, West Nile will have unlimited access to electricity for both domestic and industrial use.
“We shall have all these alternative connections working and when one develops a problem, we switch to the next and, therefore, the people of this region will have constant power supply, which will increase production in the region,” he said.
Mr Bernard Atiku, the Ayivu County Member of Parliament, who has been vocal in lobbying for stable power supply to the West Nile region, said the additional supply is a positive development for the region.
He said with the commissioning of the thermal plant, load shedding will be no more as the region places demand for connection to the national grid.
“We appreciate this commitment from the government, but we still need more. I know the site for the substation in Arua has been completed and we expect government to speed up the process of putting West Nile on the national grid,” he said.
The commissioning of the power plant has been met with excitement by business community and the locals.
Mr Robert Nyakua, who owns a welding facility at Pangisa Village in Oli Division, said they have always appealed to the authority to prevail over power outage.
“I was spending a lot of money on fuel to run my welding facility. For two days now, power has been consistent. With this, I will make more money from my business,” Mr Nyakua said.
Ms Grace Munduru, who operates a bar at Ediofe Trading Centre, says some of her customers had abandoned her because she was supplying them with warm beverages.
Robinah Ocokoru, the owner of a salon in Awindiri, said: “More than twice my customers have had to go and complete their hair styles from other salons with generators because of power outage.”
Mr Yorke Alion Odria, the MP for Aringa South Constituency in Yumbe District, who has been supervising the installation of the generators said, the project is a boost for West Nile because it will induce other developments.
“This means a lot for us in West Nile and my people in Yumbe. It means that we shall increase production. It means that the government’s plan to set up a fruit factory in Yumbe will be realised and my people will earn more money,” he said.