Shs52.4b Kigezi power station to be completed in September 

A section of the site of the Kabale Power Substation, which UETCL says, has already been earthed. Photo / Deogratius  Wamala

What you need to know:

  • The Kigezi sub-region currently relies on Mbarara, from which transmission lines have to stretch long distances, thus becoming susceptible to voltage and power drops

Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) has said it will by September have completed the 33 kilovolts Kabale Power Substation, which seeks to stabilise electricity supply in the region. 

The sub region currently relies on substations in Mbarara and other transmission lines, which stretch long distances of about 200 kilometres, thus being susceptible to power and voltage drops. 

Speaking during an on-site assessment of the project by the Parliamentary Committee of Environment and Natural Resources in Kabale District on Wednesday, Eng Mary Dawn Nakasozi, the manager of Mirama-Kabale project under UETCL, said the substation will be handed over to government by Colenco Consulting - the project consultant - in at least eight months.

The Kigezi sub-region has been experiencing unstable power supply due to voltage and power drops, occasioned by an increase in industrial electricity consumption and long distances covered by transmission lines. 

The substation, which will help to stabilise power in the Kigezi sub-region, evacuate and transmit electricity from Muvumbe hydropower project and Kisoro District, respectively, has seen a number of works completed, among which include earthing. 

It will largely benefit the districts of Kabale, Isingiro, Kisoro, and Rukungiri, among others, and will be supported by the extension of the grid from Mirama, which is at 132 kilovolts, after which UETCL will step it down to 33 kilovolts for local distribution.  The substation will also transfer 33 megavolts from Kabale to a planned power generation site within the district to supply a proposed iron ore factory in Kabale and industrial parks in the region. 

“We are at 27 percent because all earthworks are done and designs of the transformers have gone up to 68 percent,” Eng Nakasozi. 

Eng Ziria Tibalwa Waako, the Electricity Regulatory Authority chief executive officer, said the $13.75m (Shs52.4b) substation, which also includes renovation of the road infrastructure, will also transmit power to Kisoro District, which currently draws its power from Mbarara substation. 

However, the project which started in March last year, has delayed for about nine years, but Mr Otim Otala Emmanuel, the Environment and Natural Resources chairman, said this was “steady progress,” given that Parliament had first received the project feasibility study in 2015. 

Transformer tests

Mr Narinder Kumar, the Colenco Consulting project manager, said that they had already received an invitation to witness transformer tests in China, which when they arrived in the country will see project completion rise to 60 percent. 

“Even if this equipment reaches Mombasa port, we can only count on our progress if it is here,” he said. 

“The critical thing is the design. If the design is completed, we are optimistic that we can make it by September,” Mr Kumar said.