In a bid to improve the reliability and the capacity of electricity supply in Northern Uganda, Umeme in collaboration with the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) together with several partners are executing several projects aimed at boosting quality and reliability of supply in the region.
Umeme Head of Communications Peter Kaujju speaking during the inspection of projects in Northern Uganda said, “Umeme and partners have stepped up investments to boost the quality and reliability of power in Northern Region which includes Lira, Gulu, Kitgum, Masindi and Hoima with a combined total of over 28,000 customers.”
He said some of the investments range from doubling the Lira substation capacity from 20-40 MVA as part of the interventions to meet the annual 20% growth in demand, increasing the carrying capacity of the power line to serve more clients and automation to enhance safety and reliability.
“Umeme remains committed to supplying quality and reliable electricity to all its customers across the country,” Kaujju added.
John Baptist Magulu, the Umeme Customer Services Engineer for Northern Uganda explains that the distributor has upgraded capacity at Gulu Substation from 5MVA to 10MVA and works are in progress with completion timeline by December 2020 to cater for suppressed demands and new upcoming investors.
“Umeme has already upgraded the Gulu powerline to support the evacuation of the Achwa Hydro Power Plant through the Gulu substation. We have also upgraded the Gulu hospital 11Kv powerline,” he said.
He said UEDCL has also committed to fully finishing the evacuation of lines from the Achwa 2 Dam project, a 42MW, to Gulu by end of 2020.
Peter Ereemye, the District Metering Engineer says the refurbishment works on Gulu 33kV and Kitgum 33kV from Lira Main substation being implemented by UEDCL commenced and expected to be completed by end of 2020.
“Part of these works involve the replacement of the wooden poles with concrete poles in swamps, conductor upgrade to 100sqmm and installation of line protection devices. We have implemented effective Vegetation management to limit network interference and effects of Bush burning,” he explains.
Ereemye explains that some of the outages in the region are due to wooden poles coming down due to bad weather. However, he said the utility company is continuing to carry out preventive maintenance works on all its network assets serving the Northern region.
Umeme and REA with several partners have come up to install concrete poles in swamps and fire-prone areas in the region to further boost reliability and quality of supply.
John Ediru the UETCL Lira Station manager says UETCL has upgraded Tororo – Opuyo -Lira 132kV power line with steel structures and currently Opuyo-Lira 132kV transmission line has been transferred to steel structures pending some sections between Tororo- Opuyo due to wayleave challenges.
“However, an improvement in supply reliability has already been registered after the section between Soroti and Lira Main Substation, was shifted from the old wooden pole network to the brand-new metallic towers,” Ediru said.
“The reliability and quality of supply in the region will further improve when UETCL completes the Tororo – Opuyo section into metallic towers,” he said.
Before the shifting of the Soroti -Lira line to metallic structures, the UETCL outages contributed approximately 70% of Northern outages over 2017-2019. UETCL has also embarked on the construction of the UETCL 132/33 kV Sub Station and interconnection with Karuma HPP, to provide another supply option for the region.