The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited in partnership with government and development partners is working to train all its 100 staff in the Operation and Maintenance Unit to be able to run the power dams.
Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | These dams in question include; the newly commissioned 183MW Isimba Hydropower Dam and the yet to be commissioned 600MW Karuma Hydropower Dam among other projects in the pipeline.
Eng. Harrison E. Mutikanga, the company’s chief executive officer told The Independent during a five day training of some of its 15 staff at Skyz Hotel in Kampala on July 19 that efforts are now geared towards boosting skills of their staff to manage the dams instead of relying on foreign consultants.
He said foreign consultants cost $1,500 (Shs5.5million) per day to do operation and maintenance compared to about $54 (Shs200, 000) that would be spent to facilitate the company’s staff to do the same job.
Mutikanga said the training is in line with asset management, one of the pillars of their five year strategic plan (2018-2023) that aims to support the agency to execute projects and achieve efficiency in line with the growing power needs.
He said the trained staff would turn out to be trainers of other staff in the same field. The five day training, funded by the United States Energy Association under Power Africa, would later lead to certification of trainees as asset management professionals, practitioners.
“Asset management is very critical for us to be able to generate electricity at low unit cost,” Mutikanga said. “The regulator is exerting a lot of pressure on all the companies in the sector to operate efficiently so that they can keep the tariff low for the consumer.”
He said the tariff is built up by costs from the generation, transmission and distribution.
“If you are very efficient at the generation point which is usually the highest component in the tariff, then the tariff will come down through improved operation efficiency,” he said.
The skills acquired here, Mutikanga said, can be cascaded down to the private sector – independent power producers – through the company’s training centre in Jinja.
Elise Voorhis, the senior program coordinator at USEA and Rhonda E. Harris, the principle consultant at AMCL – a global asset management company, said the trainees were an excellent class in grasping the concepts and that they would add value to the country’s energy sector.