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System Overload Affecting Power Supply in Acholi-Energy Minister :: Uganda Radionetwork
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System Overload Affecting Power Supply in Acholi-Energy Minister

Nankabirwa said that the government was already in the process of upgrading and rehabilitating transmission lines in the sub-region to ensure that the end users have a reliable power supply.
Minister for Energy, Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa (C) cuts a ribbon to commision the new regional ofices for Electricity Regulatory Authority in Gulu City on June 18 2024.

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Energy and Mineral Development Minister Ruth Nankabirwa has blamed unreliable power supply in areas Acholi Sub Region on system overload.

The Minister observed that the dense population in the region after the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency has seen many households connected to electricity which has exerted pressure on the national grid.

Nankabirwa made the remarks at the launch of the first regional office for the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) in Gulu on Tuesday. Her statement follows concerns from area leaders about the persistent power outage that has affected business opportunities for local investors.

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Gulu City Woman Member of Parliament Betty Aol Ocan told the Minister that several Potential investors have relocated to Lira in recent months due to unreliable power supply which is a detriment to local investment, yet high electricity tariffs have left locals unable to connect to the national grid.

Former ERA Board Chairperson Richard Santo Apire highlighted that the electric poles in the region are too old and weak to support a stable supply of electricity.

Nankabirwa said that the government was already in the process of upgrading and rehabilitating transmission lines in the sub-region to ensure that the end users have a reliable power supply.

For instance, she highlighted that under the World Bank-funded Electricity Scale-up Project (EASP), the government will expand the electricity distribution network in the country through the installation of transformers to improve the quality of electricity.

The USD 638 million project will be implemented over five years through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development across the country.

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Nankabirwa also argued that while the government is committed to reducing the tariffs to ensure electricity is affordable, the changes won’t be drastic. 

In January this year, the government announced a 1.6 percent reduction in electricity tariff. But Nankabirwa explained that such a drop in tariff can only be maintained when the government invests public funds in the electricity infrastructure including generation, transmission, and distribution network. 

She cited that currently, power from Karuma and Isimba hydropower stations is quite affordable at only 4.9 cents a unit because the government puts public funds at 15 percent.

ERA Chief Executive Officer Eng. Ziria Waako Tibalwa says the opening of a regional office in the region underscores the authority’s commitment to bringing essential regulatory services closer to the local populace.

She noted that the regional office will among others help to facilitate the timely resolution of electricity complaints, ensuring the streamlined processing of installation permits, power reliability monitoring, and monitoring of the implementation of government investment projects.

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Waako asked electricity consumers in the region to take advantage of the regional office and report any unresolved power supply challenges for the government to take action. According to Waako, the regional office in Gulu will cater for the sub-regions of Acholi, Lango, and West Nile.

Dr Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi, the ERA Board Chairperson says the regional offices will help the authority to comprehensively understand potential problems in the electricity sector which leads to improvement in their system and network performances.

“We are here to monitor and identify the potential problems that occur in our sector. it may highlight specific customers' experiences but when we combine these complaints, we can comprehensively understand and improve our performance including the system performance and the network performance which will contribute to a more reliable efficient, and safe customer-centric electricity sector,” she said.

ERA is expected to commission another regional office for the Easter region in Mbale on Friday. Uganda’s installed electricity capacity is expected to rise to 2,000 Megawatts by the close of this year once the 600-megawatt Karuma Hydro-power plant in Kiryandongo District becomes fully operational.