Consumers in waiting
Available government data from UEGCL indicates that going beyond 2018; potential areas of demand will gallop 1630MW. The largest consumer being the Standard Guage Railway which will require 300MW, Namanve Industrial Part (107MW), Mukono Industrial Part (90MW), Luzira Industrial Park (60MW), Iganga Industrial Park (43MW), Phosphate factory (200MW), Rural Electricity Agency (130MW), Urban centres (130MW), power trade (250MW), Mining (300MW) and others (100MW).
Experts say the government needs to improve on procurement and inefficiencies in monitoring and supervision which have become synonymous with most public projects and caused losses to tax payers to achieve this year’s targets and beyond.
Mubaraka Nkuutu Kirunda, the acting executive director at the Uganda Manufacturers Association, told The Independent that the government’s move to waive taxes on electricity purchased from Bujagali signals its commitment to cut tariffs to US$5 cents, down from the current US$12 per unit.
“A big percentage of manufacturing costs is related to electricity. If we attain the US$5 cents per unit, we will cut power costs by half,” Kirunda said.
Selestino Babungi, the managing director of Uganda’s largest power distributor, Umeme, agrees with government plans and targets of increasing generation to cope with growing demand.
He says if 70% of Uganda’s 850MW electricity is consumed by industrial customers, then, the country needs to increase the industrial base by another 70% to create demand for about 900MW of power that is coming on board in the near future.
“…otherwise, if that does not happen, you will have brilliant investment facilities generating power which is not put to productive use and yet the country needs it to develop,” Babungi said.
He added that the focus for demand will be on how many new investors will come into the country to be able to utilise the energy that will be coming on stream for the economy to grow.
UEGCL’s new strategic plan
As Ugandans wait the launch of the new projects, UEGCL has unveiled a new five year strategic plan starting this year up to 2023 aimed at putting the company on a new platform of growth and development, which in turn will translate into sustainable and affordable electricity to the economy and the socio-economic transformation of the population.
Harrison Mutikanga, the company’s executive director said the country’s total electricity installed capacity is expected to reach 1292.1MW, plant availability (97%) and plant reliability (99%) in the next five years.