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Uganda: Construction of Key Electricity Line Starts

Mar 06, 2009 - BBC Monitoring Africa

Construction of a power transmission line with a capacity of 220,000 volts has been commissioned. The 114bn shillings [about 58m dollars] line, which is to transmit power from Bujagali Dam in Jinja [eastern Uganda] to the national grid, is the first of its kind, Eriasi Kiyemba, the managing director of the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company, said.

He said the capacity of the line was bigger than that of other sub-stations put together.

Uganda has 12 sub-stations with a capacity of 132KVs, he said.

The sub-station, which is to sit on 14 acres of land at Kawanda in Wakiso District [central Uganda], is expected to be completed next year.

The line will pass through Mabira Forest in Mukono District via Kitetikka in Gayaza to Kawanda.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Kiyemba said the line would increase the transmission capacity and improve reliability of power.

"Energy is crucial for the country's development. But we have not been able to generate enough power since 2005. That is why the government is aggressive in constructing more dams and power lines," he added.

The African Development Bank and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation are funding the project.

A total of 34bn shillings [17m dollars] was used to compensate the 2,682 households affected by the construction.

Kiyemba said the 250 mega watts capacity Bujagali Dam was two months ahead of schedule, adding that it will also start generating power next year.

Statistics show that the country needs 400 mega watts of power a day. However, only 320 mega watts are generated, which causes regular load shedding.

"Once Bujagali and the Kawanda sub-station are complete, we shall see no more load shedding," Kiyemba said.

Pradip Das, the vice-president of the Jyoti Structures, the India- based company constructing the line, said the project would create 1,000 jobs.

Originally published by The New Vision website, Kampala, in English 6 Mar 09.

(c) 2009 BBC Monitoring Africa. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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