Uganda’s experts in the electricity industry have asked the government to invest more money in the development of retail low power voltage lines before commissioning of Isimba and Karuma Hydro Power Dams whose construction is almost accomplished.
Eng. Dr. Frank Sebbowa, a Power Consultant at Frank Energy Consultants said that for the government to benefit from the two power projects there is need to extend power to the real productive users.
Sebbowa also said that the government has tried to develop the infrastructure for high voltage lines to evacuate power from Karuma and Isimba but on the final distribution lines government has remained silent.
The construction of the two plants is moving fast and by end of 2018 Isimba is expected to be producing some power.
Sebbowa said, “the Government should put up mechanism for such power to reach the end users in good time. The Government needs to invest more in distribution because it has done very well in Generation and Transmission but for it to have economic value, it must distribute the power to the end Users”.
Speaking at an Energy and power breakfast meeting organized by Frank Energy Consultants, Sebbowa noted that for the government to achieve its power accessibility projections especially in rural communities; more focus should not build on generation but put up infrastructures that can transmit power to all corners in the country.
Statistics show that only 7% of Ugandans in rural areas have access to electricity yet the Government’s 10 year plan for rural electrification strategy and plan (2013-2022) aims to raise this figure to 26%.
For these power accessibility goals in the rural communities, the government has invested heavily in power generation particularly in developing min-hydro power station. This has enabled government to increase on the volume of power generation in the country which now stands at 825MW.The number is expected to rise to 2500MW once the two power dams are switched on.
For the production of the 2500 MW the Government should support power distribution companies such as Umeme, Rural Electrification Agency and West Nile Rural Electrification Company to expand their distribution network. This is because power distribution requires huge investment which some of these companies cannot afford.