Govt to extend power supply to South Sudan  

Wednesday December 09 2020
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Uganda currently has excess electricity supply. Government has been seeking ways through which it can fully utilise available supply of close to 1,200 megawatts. Photo | File

By Tom Brian Angurini

Government is working on an interconnection to export electricity to South Sudan, according to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL). 
The Interconnection, UETCL managing director Valentine Katabira said, is part of the agenda to create a regional electricity sharing platform through which the East African Community would achieve stable power supply.
Speaking during an electricity forum organised by Ministry of Energy, Mr Katabira said: “The interconnection with South Sudan is in line with the East African Community policy of connecting each country to have power sharing grid for better supply.”

Countries within the EAC bloc established a collaborative effort under the Eastern Africa Power Pool in which partner states within the region interconnect their electricity grids to take advantage of excess capacity within the network. 
The move seeks to help countries with insufficient capacity to access the excess power elsewhere at a relatively affordable cost.  

Uganda currently generates 1,200 megawatts with local demand of only 600 megawatts, which creates a surplus of close to 600 megawatts. 
The country is expected to add another 300 megawatts with the completion of Karuma Hydro Power Dam, whose launch has been delayed due to defects detected by Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited, the project supervisor. 

The interconnection to South Sudan, according to set to UETCL, which will allow Uganda to export electricity to another East African country, is expected to be completed next year. 
Uganda currently exports electricity to Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and parts of eastern DR Congo. 
During the same meeting, Paul Mwesiga, the UEDCL executive director, government plans to connect 6.4 million households on the national grid through public private partnerships. 

The connections are expected to cost close to $ 6.5b as part of government’s agenda to extend power connection, especially to rural areas. 
“In order to do achieve government’s target of connecting this 6.4 million households before completion of the 2020/21 financial year, we need to embark on sustainable financing through public-private partnerships,” he said, noting that it was important that more households are connected in order to have a reduction in tariffs. 

Eng Ziria Tibalwa Waako, the Electricity Regulatory Authority chief executive officer said, the current electricity surplus gives Uganda an opportunity to enjoy a reduction in power tariffs from the current 12.5 US cents to 3 US cents. 
“The country is on a clear path to reduce electricity tariffs from 12.5 US cents to 3 US cents,” she said.  


Reduction in export earnings   
Uganda’s cumulative electricity export earnings for the year ended September dropped to  $25.64m (Shs96b) from $50m (Shs187b) in the same period ended August 2019, according to details from Bank of Uganda. 
The earnings fell by 95 per cent compared to what the country had earned in the same period in 2019.  
The decline, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), said was occasioned by reduced demand, espcially from Kenya.