Lines to evacuate Karuma Dam power ready – UETCL

UETCL officials inspect the Karuma Hydropower Dam switch yard on Wednesday. The transmission company has said it is ready to evacuate power from the dam to the consumers. PHOTO / TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

What you need to know:

  • Speaking to this newspaper in Gulu City on Wednesday, Mr Lawrence  Kimbowa,  the acting UETCL spokesperson: “We are ready to evacuate and terminate that power (from Karuma Dam) to the respective sub-stations. As we speak now, the Karuma-Kawanda transmission line is complete, so we are now waiting for the dam, if they say they are ready with the dam, we will be good to go.”

The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) has said construction of the electricity transmission lines to transfer electricity generated from Karuma Hydropower Dam is complete for use.

Speaking to the Monitor in Gulu City on Wednesday, Mr Lawrence  Kimbowa,  the acting UETCL spokesperson: “We are ready to evacuate and terminate that power (from Karuma Dam) to the respective sub-stations. As we speak now, the Karuma-Kawanda transmission line is complete, so we are now waiting for the dam, if they say they are ready with the dam, we will be good to go.”

Mr Kimbowa, who was speaking on sidelines of a fact-finding visit by the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Natural Resources over the status of projects being undertaken by the UETCL, said the electricity transmission line from Karuma to Olwiyo is also complete, save for a few touches being made at Olwiyo Sub-station in Nwoya District.

“That line is 100 percent complete. Although we also have some works at the Olwiyo Sub-station, which is now at 98 percent, those works cannot stop the transmission of energy to progress because they are just fixing and clearing the site,” Mr Kimbowa said.

Whereas the construction of the Karuma-Kawanda and Karuma-Olwiyo transmission lines is complete and are ready to transmit electricity, UETCL says they are yet to complete the construction of the Karuma-Lira transmission line.

Mr Kimbowa said disagreements surrounding land acquisition have caused works on the line to slow down in the past months.

“For Karuma-Lira transmission line, we have not yet completed because of concerns surrounding the land acquisition. We still have some court cases, which are yet to be disposed of but we know that is also another process.”

He was, however, quick to state that they were winding up negotiations with the landowners to allow them proceed with the construction works while the court cases progressed.

“We have been engaging different parties, including the landowners to allow us to gain access to the corridors so that while we wait for the court to dispose of these cases, the line is ready to terminate power.”

Background

In April, government, through the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL), cleared Sinohydro Corporation Company Ltd, the Chinese firm contracted to build Karuma Hydropower Dam, of defects ahead of the project commissioning.

UEGCL said it had cleared the contractor of both structural and technical defects, which rectification has in the past caused disagreements between the government and the contractor, causing several postponements of commissioning dates.

Mr Harrison Mutikanga, the UEGCL chief executive officer, said: “The new team of the contractor has done a commendable job and we are optimistic that given the remaining few works, they will come up with an implementation plan for commissioning the plant.”

Besides fixing all the electromechanical defects and installing circuit and fire breakers for transformer protection, he said all the structural glitches have also been rectified.

Although he stated that the completion status of the dam remains the same (at 99 percent), Mr Mutikanga said they have gone ahead to clear the contractor to prepare a commissioning plan while the commissioning date approaches.

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