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Uganda's energy-saving bulbs lead reduction in load shedding

Oct 1, 2007 - Xinhua

The introduction of energy-saving bulbs a few months ago has resulted into the saving of 30 mega watts in Uganda, which has led to reduction in load shedding in the country.

"Over 550,000 energy-saving bulbs have been distributed free in the main load center of Kampala, Entebbe, Wakiso, Mukono and Jinja and this has resulted in saving 30 mega watts," Simon D'Ujanga, the energy state minister, was quoted by state-owned New Vision on Monday as saying.

Energy experts said such an amount of electricity could light Mukono and Entebbe or connect about 15,000 new homes.

D'Ujanga disclosed that the peak demand for electricity had reduced to 350 mega watts from 380 mega watts.

"The generation option of 30 mega watts would cost an estimated investment of 75 million U.S. dollars in hydropower generation, while 20 million dollars would be required for thermal generation excluding the fuel and administrative costs," he said.

Presenting a paper on "The Role of Energy Efficiency in Reducing Electricity Demand in Uganda" at a seminar in Kampala over the weekend, the minister said the energy-saving bulbs were procured at 1.2 million U.S. dollars and distributed free to improve on energy efficiency.

The energy ministry early this year procured 800,000 energy- saving bulbs to replace the ordinary bulbs.

Each Umeme customer received three energy savers and taxes on energy-saving bulbs removed to bring down the cost to encourage consumers to purchase them.

Umeme is Uganda's leading distributor of electric power.

D'Ujanga said that energy efficiency is the most important component of a sustainable energy system, resulting into high standards of services.

"It means we get more services for less energy and thus less money and less carbon dioxide emissions," he noted.

"Efficient energy technologies can result into high standards of services such as lighting, cooling and transportation, with a lower demand for energy and a lower environmental impact," the minister added.

D'Ujanga said improving efficiency could delay the need for additional generation capacity and save investment costs, adding that the government was implementing several measures to improve the efficiency of utilization of electricity.

"Let us all use electricity more efficiently and save money and our environment," D'Ujanga added.

The Ugandan government is distributing energy saving bulbs, doing energy auditing for private industries and public premises, carried out an energy efficiency week and is carrying out awareness campaigns to promote acquisition of energy efficient technologies, he said.

He said such measures are expected to increase efficiency by 5 percent by March 2009, saving money that would be required for new power facilities investment.

Uganda is currently facing an acute power shortage as the hydropower generation from the Kiira and Nalubaale power stations, 80km east of Kampala, dwindled to 140MW from the installed capacity of 380MW.