Artist’s impression
of the Bujagali
hydropower project
 
Jinja, Uganda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 27 January 2012 – Minister for energy and mineral development Irene Muloni, has revealed that the Ugandan government is set to review its contract with Umeme, the sole power distributor in the country, to ensure that consumers get the desired service.

According to Muloni, Umeme, whose 20-year contract comes up for review next month, shall among other issues be given new targets like implementing the installation of the prepaid metering system to enable consumers to manage their bills.

Speaking to the press after touring the Bujagali power project, whose construction works were launched in August 2007 at a cost of US$860 million, the minister said: “Umeme will be compelled to reduce their losses as the only way of having the tariffs drop.”

The major contractor of the dam construction reaffirmed that the first 50MW will be supplied to the national grid by 7 February. Muloni said it would eventually relieve the country of expensive thermal power. In terms of the contract agreements, the official commissioning of the 250MW is supposed to be in June 2012.

Responding to questions by reporters, Muloni said even when the dam was fully completed, it would not translate into lower tariffs. But she did say that government had withdrawn the subsidies on power tariffs because it wanted to extend electricity to the 88% of the population that is currently not accessing power, in a bid to promote small scale industries.