Govt, contractor trade blame over delays on Karuma works  

Monday September 27 2021

Karuma hydropower dam under construction in Kiryandongo District. PHOTO/FILE


Uncertainty continues to cloud the expected launch of Karuma Hydro Power Project (KHPP) as government and contractor trade blame over delayed works. 
While conducting a site inspection last week by Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa, the KHPP project coordinator Albert Byaruhanga, who is contracted under Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited, said that despite the contractor pushing for commissioning, there were a number of serious non-conformity issues and defects that need to be rectified before anything is done.  

“The problems range from electrical and mechanical defects to hydro works relating to electrical cabling where so far about 40 kilometres worth of cables and electrical power control signals have been replaced,” he said, noting that after securing a new Owners Engineer, some designs that had been approved had to be overturned because in some cases they weren’t complying with technical specifications and applicable engineering standards.

Therefore, Mr Byaruhanga noted, it was in government’s interest and responsibility to ensure that the right thing is done even if it means repeating works to conform to contractual requirements. 
In March, government announced it would delay the commissioning of the 600 megawatts Karuma Hydro Power dam to June 2022, which was the third time the commissioning was being postponed. 
Construction of Karuma, which started in 2013, had been expected to end in 2018. 

Mr Hoi Fuquiang, the KHPP and Karuma Interconnection Project general manager, said that whereas they had resubmitted the drafts after recommendations of the new Owners Engineer, they continue to experience delays in getting feedback. 
“Ideally we are supposed to sit with the Owners Engine to compare notes,” he said, adding that they have not had this opportunity to compare works in about six or seven months thus causing unnecessary delays .