Government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development under the Rural Electrification Program- has added at least 25,000km of electricity distribution powerlines (13,000km of Medium Voltage (MV) and over 12,000 km of Low Voltage (LV) across the country .
As a result, over a million new customers have been connected onto the national grid and an increment in the rural electrification access rate has now improved from 1% in 2001 to over 23% by 2020. “Grid extension to all district headquarters across the country has been achieved save for Buvuma which will be connected using mini-grid in the short to medium term by 2023,” a statement from the Ministry of Energy has indicated .
In a renewed – concerted effort to keep the Ugandan people updated about the performance of the energy sector , Ministry of Energy officials said that an additional- 27,200 km powerline- (12,600km of MV and 14,600km LV) is currently under construction.
“This includes the Project for Bridging the Demand Supply Balance Gap Through the Accelerated Rural Electrification Program that aims at the electrification of sub – county headquarters totalling to 620 administrative centers (558 sub – county headquarters, 10 Divisional and un-served 52 Town Council headquarters) countrywide, and other ongoing projects funded by the World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Kuwait Fund, KfW and government of Uganda ,” they stated .
The Ministry of Energy is headed by Minister -Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa , State Ministers -Hon. Hon. Okaasai Sidronius Opolot for Energy and Hon. Peter Lokeris for Minerals-respectively . the Permanent Secretary is eng. Irene Batebe and Under Secretary- Mr. Emmanuel Freddie Mugunga.
According to the Ministry report the Eletrification programme is also undertaking grid intensification and densification projects aimed at connecting areas with suppressed demand within the existing national grid footprint.
“This project targets the connection of underserved load centres within a 1-5km footprint of the existing grid, through transformer injections, expansion of the low voltage reticulation network and short expansions of the medium voltage network, majorly targeting highly populated areas such as municipalities, divisions and busy trading centres countrywide. “
New small hydropower plants built and substations set up
The ministry of Energy is also facilitating the evacuation of various small hydropower plants countrywide through the Get-fit and non-Get-fit programs such as Bukinda and Nkusi HPP as well as SCOUL co-generation. In addition, the programme is building a substation at Muzizi in order to improve the power quality in the Kibaale – Kagadi area.
Officials said that Energy Ministry is also implementing- an off-grid component that seeks to increase rural electrification access through the implementation of Solar PV mini-grids in rural areas of Uganda. Support for this component has mostly come from; the Government of Uganda, European Union, GIZ and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
“We developed a GIS based Electronic Database and Information Management System(EDIMS) in January 2020. The system is used to enhance monitoring, validation and reporting of connections and the carbon finance programs to enable decision making by relevant stakeholders in service provision. The system also enables users obtain real time data on consumer connections.’
All the above highlighted milestones , Ministry officials stated, have been achieved -even when the country faced challenges of two lock-downs due to the raving Covid-19 pandemic ;the merger process of the agency into a department at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and the temporary deferment of the Electricity Connections Policy (ECP) due to funding constraints .
The Ministry of Energy development Partners include among others : World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), European Union (EU), KfW, German Development Bank, the German International Cooperation-Endev, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), African Development Bank (AfDB), Abu Dhabi Funding, Kuwait Fund, Exim Bank of China, Japan International cooperation Agency (JICA), The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), GIZ , US Agency for International Development (USAID), Power Africa and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
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