Parts of Uganda are set to experience electricity load shedding for the next month or so following the temporary shutdown of the 183MW Isimba Hydropower Plant in Kayunga District on August 8, 2022.
According to a Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) statement, the shutdown was undertaken as a safety procedure to ensure safety of staff and protection of the electro-mechanical equipment like generators and turbines after the powerhouse was flooded.
Ruth Nankabirwa, the Energy Minister warns that substations countrywide that directly sourced their power from Isimba would be affected more by the power outages.
“The operator, the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) is undertaking appropriate measures to restore power production at Isimba Hydropower Plant and we expect generation to resume within three weeks,” reads the August 16, 2022 statement in part.
In the meantime, to ensure continuity of electricity supply in the country, the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) intends to import approximately 60MW from Kenya; dispatch up to 50MW from the Namanve Thermal Power Plant and another 20MW from the Kakira Sugar Power Plant.
UETCL also intends to optimize the generation capacity of the other power plants across the country, suspend any planned and non-emergency shutdown or outage permits and implement load shedding to balance power demand and supply and ensure that grid stability is achieved and sustained.
Load shedding involves reducing electricity consumption by switching off the power supply to groups of customers because the entire system is at risk. It is resorted to when there is a shortage of electricity supply, or to prevent transmission and distribution lines from becoming overloaded.
Uganda experienced extended load shedding between 2006 and 2012, with the commissioning of Bujagali Hydropower plant providing welcome relief to electricity users.
The country has a total installed generation capacity of about 1300MW.