The Ministry of Energy in Uganda has directed the Karuma Hydropower Project contractor, Sino Hydro Corporation Ltd, to deploy more engineers on-site and correct all the wiring and electromechanical defects on the plant’s powerhouse.
This came to light when the Energy minister, Ms. Ruth Nankabirwa was addressing journalists during the project site tour. She said that most of the cabling in the six power generating units need to be redone because the ones that were installed do not meet the contract specifications, and they are substandard, and furthermore, they were installed without approval from the government of the East African country.
The defects requiring correction at the Karuma Hydropower project
According to Mr. Albert Musoke Byaruhanga, the Karuma Hydropower project coordinator contracted under Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited, the defects requiring correction include mechanical installations, electrical cables, and general cabling where some cables do not meet contract specifications and international standards.
Mr. Byaruhanga explained that if the power plant was commissioned as it was, “with the defects it could catch fire, there would be many power outages and the facility would not be safe for the people working there.”
“In the last nine months, we rectified 40 percent of the defects and in the next nine months, we will be able to finish the rest.”
Government and the contractor trade blame over delays on the project
While the government blames the Karuma Hydropower project contractor for the delay of the project due to “a number of serious non-conformity issues and defects that need to be rectified”, Mr. Hoi Fuquiang, the KHPP, and Karuma Interconnection Project general manager said that even after 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 Engineer to compare notes, but we have not had this opportunity to compare works in about six or seven months thus causing unnecessary delays,” said Mr. Fuquiang.