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Uganda is taking steps to improve and increase its current 5% electrification rate
NamPower: Ruacana hydroelectric power station. Pic credit: kunenerak
The Ugandan government is hopeful that once the ongoing hydro power projects are completed, electricity rates could be reduced. Pic credit: kunenerak

In East Africa, the Ugandan government has instructed the public power facility, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL), to oversee the completion of hydro power projects over the next three years  in attempts to decrease power tariffs, local media New Vision reported this week.

UEGCL chairman Dr Stephen Robert Isabalija explained that the cost of power produced by independent power producers (IPPs) today stands at more than $11 cents/kWh whereas power generated by UEGCL is sold at $1.2 cents/kWh.

The Ugandan government’s latest move to ensure the completion of hydro power projects is part of a target to sell power from generation plants at no more than $5 cents/kWh.

Bujagali Energy, which was listed among the successful IPPs, owns and operates the 250MW Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Station.

Completion of hydro power projects

Isabalija said government has adopted a new Energy Policy Direction that gives UEGCL the mandate of implementing interventions for the construction of government flagship projects including the 600MW Karuma hydro power project, 183.2MW Isimba hydroelectric power project as well as the 600MW Ayago hydro power project.

The projects to be completed, includes the small hydropower plants such as Nyagak III and the 44.7MW Muzizi hydro power plant.

Uganda – ranks in top three in power generation efficiency

Isabalija explained that previously UEGCL was only tasked to supervise the power generation concession agreements for the 180MW Nalubaale hydro power as well as the 200MW Kiira hydro power in Jinja.

He also highlighted that Uganda was lagging in third position in power generation in the East Africa region with Kenya being the leader followed by Tanzania.

Uganda’s power generation efficiency stands at 61%, with Tanzania at 65% and Kenya leading with 78%.

Finance minister Fred Omach said the current coverage of electricity is low and there is a need to ensure that those currently devoid of sustainable electricity are served.

Omach added that Uganda’s Vision 2040 targets to increase electricity coverage to 80%, while the National Development Plan sets a power sector development goal of annual per capita consumption increasing from 75 Kwh/Capita (2010) to 674 Kwh/Capita (2015).

This target will require additions of 3,500MW to Uganda’s existing national grid which is currently standing at 850MW against a target of 3,885MW by 2015 in the National Development Plan.