Kampala, Uganda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 15 November 2011 – Ugandan electricity consumers have been left facing the prospect of massive energy rationing in the face of fresh threats by independent power producers to shut down their plants over unpaid dues.

In addition to Aggreko, which pulled the plug on the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company earlier in the week, reports said the other significant power supplier; Jacobsen Electro, was threatening similar action. Such a development would see the peak hour energy shortfall shoot to 200MW, plunging even more of the country into darkness.

The threats came amid conflicting reports that suggested that, despite the much anticipated coming on line of the new 250MW Bujagali power station over the course of the next eight months, hydrological conditions would not support generation beyond an additional 170MW.

Ministry of Energy officials have been engaged in marathon meetings in an effort to break a deadlock that has seen emergency power supplier Aggreko shut down its 50MW plant in the capital over unsettled fuel and VAT claims.

Sources at Aggreko claimed their fuel supplier Shell Uganda Limited had ceased supply over unsettled bills, the value of which none of the parties involved was willing to discuss.

It also emerged that Aggreko was aggrieved over VAT refund claims that have been pending at the Ministries of Energy and Finance, even though its contract was due to end this month.

Junior energy minister Simon D’ujanga told “The East African” that everything was being done to rectify the problem and avert further inconvenience. Aggreko’s withdrawal pushed the peak-time shortfall to 150MW, a figure that would increase by another 50MW were Jacobsen to follow suit.