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UETCL commissions US$ 24 million Luzira Industrial Park Substation  

Big power consumers like Cipla, UBL, Metro Plastics, and National Water are to benefit from the new infrastructure 

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited has commissioned the 120MVA, 132/33kV Luzira Industrial Park Substation which is expected to boost the supply of reliable power to consumers, especially industrialists.

In an interview with The Independent on Jan.31, the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Michael Taremwa Kananura said, the substation, which is located at Luzira Industrial Park, with a total transformation capacity of 120MVA, comprising three power transformers stepping down high voltage power from 132kV to 33kV, is well built and connects to the Umeme network.

“The substation is going to supply quality, reliable, stable and adequate electricity to all the categories of consumers including domestic, commercial, medium industrial and large-industrial consumers,” Kananura said.

He listed the key beneficiaries as Cipla Quality Chemical Ltd, Metro Plastics Ltd, Uganda Breweries Ltd, National Water and Sewage Ggaba, Umeme Portbell Substation, Bluewave Beverages Ltd, Orion Industries Ltd, Pipeline design and Form Ltd, Blow Plastic Ltd, Afroplast Enterprises Ltd, Smile Plast Luzira, graphic systems Ltd.

This development is also expected to attract investors in the Luzira Industrial Business Park, Kananura said. This, he said, would create new jobs; contribute to more tax for the government and the associated opportunities for the economy.

The 132/33kV Luzira Substation and the associated 15km, 132kV transmission line cost US$ 24 million (approx.Shs88bn) using a loan that was obtained from China EXIM Bank.

The contractor was China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd and The Consultant was NEK Consults Ltd all contracted by UETCL and managed by UETCL Project Manager Mark Namungo.

The construction period for the substation was nine months which started in April 2018 and ending in December 2018.

Meanwhile, the construction period for the transmission line was 24 months which started in January 2021 and was completed in December 2022. The reason for the delay was due to land acquisition challenges, according to Kananura.

The substation and the associated transmission infrastructure are part of the electrification of Industrial Parks Project Phase I which comprises 80MVA, 132/33kV Iganga Industrial parks Substation and the associated 18km, 132kV Transmission Line already commissioned in December 2019, 169MVA, 132/33kV Mukono Industrial parks Substation and the associated 5km, 132kV Transmission Line already commissioned in July 2019, 120MVA,132/33kV and 132/33kV Namanve South Industrial parks Substation and the associated 5km, 132kV Transmission Line already commissioned in January 2021.

Compensation challenges 

Kananura admitted that there were compensation challenges along the line route corridor that traverses through Bukasa village, Kirombe village, Panda PL Village, Luzira Portbell village and Luzira Prison village that delayed the process.

But Kananura sai most project-affected persons from Luzira Prison village up to Kirombe village were compensated through a court process apart from a few whose compensation process is a work in progress.

“We believe that once their compensation is settled well there will be no threat to the effective supply of power to customers,” Kananura said, adding “the new line and those constructed across the country conform to the UETCL’s environment protection policy, guidelines and sustainability reporting function.”

Asked about how the company dealt with individuals who were opposing the project, Kananura said, during the project implementation period, they had to work closely with the area’s local leaders in terms of project sensitisation and the associated benefits.

Meanwhile, UETCL technical officials said, the contractor has provided both off-shore training and on-site training to many UETCL staff on the design, installation and operation of all the project equipment.

UETCL staff participated in the preliminary design of the substation and transmission line equipment, and pre-commissioning tests up to the project energisation stage.

As of the end of January 31, 2023, UETCL had 32 substations with a total circuit of transmission network of 3,992 km across the country. In line with its corporate business plan (2020/21-2023/24), more regional substations in Kabale, Gulu, Pader and more will be constructed to bring the total number of substations to 54 and the total circuit transmission network to 5,374km.

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