Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) has signed a Euro 5.2m (sh20.5b) contract with German based Intec Gopa International Energy Consultants GmbH to supervise the construction of three high voltage transmission lines from Karuma Hydro Power Project (Karuma HPP) to supply power to the country.
Erias Kiyemba, managing director UETCL said on Wednesday the power will be transported to meet high power demands especially for industries located in Central and Southern Uganda. Part of it will go to Northern Uganda where it is intended to provide reliable power supply to attract investments. He said Only 16% of Ugandans have access to power from the national grid and there was need to increase access.
“We want to emancipate the Northern region. We want to bring a strong line to Lira district to increase accessibility of power to the Northern region. Once investors know there is reliable power supply they will go there. The principle is to extend the grid to bring power to Central and Southern Uganda to serve industries where most industries are located,” Kiyemba said.
Kiyemba signed the contract on behalf of UETCL while Klaus Langschied, managing director Intec Gopa International Energy Consultants GmbH signed on behalf of his company. The function took place at the UETCL head offices in Kampala.
Kiyemba said the company would supervise the construction of 400 kilovolts double circuit transmission line of 264 km from Karuma HPP switch yard to Kawanda substation, 132 Kilovolts double circuit transmission line 80km from Karuma to Lira substation, 400kilovolts double circuit transmission line of 60km from Karuma to Olwiyo substation in Nwoya district.
He explained that the lines would evacuate power generated from the 600mw us$1.4b (sh4.9 trillion) Karuma Hydro Power Station located in Kiryandongo and Oyam districts 15 km downstream Karuma falls.
He urged the company to ensure that the construction of the high voltage lines was according to approved design and any irregularities found during construction should be reported to UECTC.
Kiyemba added the construction and supervision work should take two years, where the lines are expected to be ready before the dam was commissioned in 2018. He said this was a big supervision given that they were dealing high voltage lines with the 400kv being the highest voltage line in Uganda being built.
Kiyemba said sh100b had been ear marked by government to compensate over 3,822 people who will be affected by the construction of the three high voltage lines. He said the high voltage power corridor would be 60 meters in width and farmlands, houses would be affected.
Langschied said the company would employ six permanent expatriate staff and 10 local supervisors and use their international support team from abroad to carry out their tasks. He said the company would carry out factory tests of materials, supervise construction and ensure quality assurance in the entire construction project.
China’s Sinohydro Corporation Limited is the Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor (EPC) for the Karuma project and it is the one constructing the three heavy voltage transmission lines at a cost of US$ 290m (sh1.05 trillion).
UETCL is responsible for high voltage above 33kilovolts for network maintenance, expansion, system operation, dispatch, bulk purchase and supply of electricity to distribution centers through- out Uganda.