Kampala, Uganda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 23 January 2011 – Electricity consumers in Uganda will have to wait even longer for relief from the power crisis since the 600 megawatt (MW) Karuma dam project will take at least 10 years to complete, according to an energy expert from the United Kingdom.
Work on the project, estimated to cost US$2.2 billion, will start in May and, according to the original government plan, should be complete in five years. But Neil Pinto “’ CEO of Power Planning Associates Limited, a UK firm contracted to work on the project “’ said Karuma would take a minimum of 10 years to complete.
“Bujagali is estimated to have cost US$1 billion, and my estimate is that Karuma will cost US$2.2 billion. There are several additional engineering challenges that are going to be presented by Karuma, such as long tunnels that will have to be built,” he pointed out.
Pinto went on to say that unless government established new electricity plants by 2014, Ugandans would be in exactly the same position in two years’ time that they are in presently. He proposed that government build a heavy fuel oil power station in the meantime because it could be done faster.
“The Monitor” reports that electricity demand in Uganda is growing at 10% annually whereas generation is growing at 4.7%, which is one of the main reasons for the power shortage and subsequent load-shedding in the country.