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Parliament Summons Energy Minister on Move to Purchase Electricity from Kenya

On Monday last week, the 183 Megawatts Isimba Dam flooded and was shut down, leading to load-shedding in different parts of the country that will go on for 3 weeks.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa.

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The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa has queried a decision by the government to import electricity from Kenya (60 Megawatts) after the shutdown Isimba hydropower plant.

Tayebwa made the statement during the Wednesday plenary sitting in which he queried the rushed decision despite reports that Uganda has surplus electricity.

“The flooding at Isimba has caused panic and UMEME has released a load-shedding schedule,"  said Tayebwa. "But we were told that we have an installed capacity of 1378.1Meggawatts and we consume much less of that. Isimba is a dam of only 183 Megawatts and we don’t even consume 1,000 Megawatts as a country. I have seen that we are already rushing to Kenya to import 60 megawatts.”

He directed that the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development appears before Parliament on Thursday with a statement that is to be debated by parliament regarding the issue. Tayebwa also tasked the committee on Natural Resources to assess the quality of work at Isimba Dam and other dams and report to parliament.

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On Monday last week, the 183 Megawatts Isimba Dam flooded and it was temporarily shut down leading to load-shedding in different parts of the country that is to go on for three weeks, according to the Ministry of Energy.

The flooding of Isimba Dam is reported to have nearly submerged the powerhouse in which the turbines, generators and other installations for electricity generation are.

Uganda has different power generation plants and these have the capacity to produce about 1,346 megawatts, according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), as of December 2021.

John Baptist Nambeshe, the Chief Opposition Whip said that the shutdown of Isimba Dam has already plugged the country into an energy crisis and some areas are already experiencing intermittent power supply.

He said that the flooding of the dam raises questions about the quality of work that was done and called for an investigation. Nambeshe also wondered why the country would experience load-shedding despite the surplus electricity.

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Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala County MP said that Uganda has been paying a lot of money for deemed energy and questioned why this cannot solve the current situation.

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Solomon Silwany, the Bukooli Central MP also reported that the load-shedding that was occasioned by Isimba Dam shutdown affected health facilities. He indicated that the Mulago National Referral Hospital was not spared, something that puts lives of many patients at risk especially those in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

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The Deputy Speaker ruled that any MP with concerns about the issue would be given time on Thursday to respond to the Minister’s statement.

 

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