Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Physical progress of works (civil, hydro-mechanical and electro-mechanical) of the construction of the 600MW Karuma hydro-power dam is now at 71% completion rate ahead of official commissioning in December next year.
The dam, which is constructed under the ground, is costing the government of Uganda US$1.4 billion. Construction works began on August 12, 2013 and is expected to last for 60 calendar months. The project is at 48 months into its 60 month project duration representing 80% time progress.
Speaking to journalists during the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited’s Board of Director’s quarterly visit to Karuma on Dec.06, Proscovia Njuki, the BOD chairperson said they are happy with the progress made so far and are confident that by December next year, some units will be switched on to supply electricity to Ugandans.
“Each time we come here we are impressed,” Njuki said.
UEGCL is a government agency charged with the role of overseeing the construction of the project.
The UEGCL’s Chief Executive Officer, Harrison Mutikanga said they are facing land acquisition and compensation challenges in areas where power transmission lines are supposed to pass in addition to having some quality issues that the Owners Engineer (OE), Energy Infratech PVT Limited has to fix. He said they are working together with other agencies including Uganda Electricity Transmission Limited (UETCL), the Ministry of Energy and that of Finance and others to manage the land problem so as not to interfere with the schedule of the project.
The quality gaps identified relate to provision of professional services and personnel for the project, according to Mutikanga.
However, he said they are engaging the OE to fix the gaps. The same company was the OE for the ongoing construction of the 183MW Isimba hydro-power dam located in Kayunga district but its contract expired on September 7, 2017 and was not renewed due to underperformance, according to UEGCL.
Officials said fast finishing Karuma project would support government’s development agenda that is anchored on industrialisation and documented in Vision 2020 and 2040.
The next BOD’s quarterly visit to the dam will be in April 2018.