4 January 2013 – Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) plans to increase its uptake of thermal electricity, although this will be three times more expensive than electricity generated from hydroelectric sources. Deputy CEO of UETCL, William Kiryahika, told the Daily Monitor of Uganda that the surplus electricity being generated by the Bujagali dam would soon be exhausted and the country would have no choice but to resort to thermal power.

The UETCL’s uptake of thermal energy will increase from 268.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to 350.5 GWh effective early 2013. Over the same period, UETCL, Uganda’s sole buyer of bulk electricity, will reduce its uptake from large hydropower plants, with the exception of the Bujagali from 2,287.1GWh (2012) to 2,689.3GWh (2014).

“The provision is in case we outstrip hydro; we must be able to respond to demand even as we continue to develop hydropower stations,” Irene Muloni, the minister of energy, says.

Dickens Kamugisha, the CEO of Africa Institute for Energy Governance, however, says the company’s move could have been dictated by the inefficiency of some large hydropower plants.

Already, UETCL has projected that unmet demand for electricity will rise from 10% in 2012 to 15% in 2013, due to increased demand from the steel industry.