169MW of purchased electricity goes unsold every quarter - ERA  

On average, distribution companies fail sell at least 17.6 percent of purchased electricity. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • During the quarter ended September 2021, whereas power companies purchased 1,108 megawatts from generation companies, only 897 megawatts were sold. 

Electricity distribution companies on average lose about 169 megawatts every three months, which remain unsold, according to data from Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA). 

According to details contained in the ERA Electricity Distribution Statistics report for the quarter ended September 2021, whereas power companies purchased 1,108 megawatts from generation companies, only 897 megawatts were sold. 

This, the report indicates, means that at least 212 megawatts were unsold, which represented energy losses of 19.1 percent.

During the period, according to data which covers a period of about six years from 2016, energy losses grew to a 17.6 percent average.  

Whereas it is not clear why the losses grew, electricity consumption could have been affected by Covid-19, which occasioned a slowdown in economic activity. 

Data from ERA indicates that energy losses have since 2016 averaged at 16.4 percent but jumped to 17.8 percent during the quarter ended September 2020, before increasing further to 19.1 percent in the period ended September 2021. 

Eng Ziria Tibalwa Waako, the ERA chief executive officer yesterday told Daily Monitor, that distributors are given performance targets above which they are penalised.

“We set targets and if they do not meet them they make losses. They are not compensated for poor performance but rather penalised,” she said. 

During the period quarter ended September 2021, Umeme had the least distibution losses (18.4 percent), followed by Kyegegwa Rural Electricity Cooperative Society Limited at 24 percent. 

At 44.1 per cent, Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) had the highest losses, followed by Kalangala Infrastructure Limited with 33.3 percent. 

  Umeme was the biggest power purchaser with an average purchase of 934 megawatts over the six-year reporting period. 

During the quarter ended September 2021, out of the 1108.1 megawatts that were purchased, at least 1,074 megawatts, Umeme had the largest share but only sold 876.6 megawatts while Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited, which purchased just 29.6 megawatts only 16.5 megawatts. 

Kalangala Infrastructure Limited purchased 2.1 megawatts but only sold 1.4 megawatts while Kyegegwa Rural Electricity Cooperative Society Limited purchased 1.8 megawatts but only managed a return of 1.4 megawatts. 

Uganda, according to the report, currently has more than 1.696 million customers connected on the national grid. 

Umeme takes the largest share, which according to the report has more than 1.568 million connections. 

It is followed by UEDCL with only 93,651 customers, while Kalangala Infrastructure Limited has 19,381 customers.  

Kyegegwa Rural Electricity Cooperative Society Limited has 9,350 customers compared to 5,970 connections for Pader-Abim Community Multi-Purpose Electric Cooperative Society. 

Consumption

Extra-large industries, which on average consume about 254 gigawatts per hour, are the leading consumers of electricity in Uganda followed by large industries, which on average consume 227 gigawatts per hour.  

Domestic connections consume about 196 gigawatts per hour while medium industries consumer 119 gigawatts. 

Commercial consumers and street lighting consume 101 gigawatts and 0.5 gigawatts respectively. 

Over the six years, according to data, the distribution network has more than doubled from just 32,027 kilometres in 2016 to 76,922 kilometres in 2021, served by network of 2,369 transformers. 

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