Kampala – The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is planning to have all secondary seed schools connected with electricity.
This was revealed by the State Minister for Energy Okasai Opolot Tuesday while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a workshop held in Kampala on bridging the demand and supply balance gaps through accelerated rural electrification program
By April 2022, 115 seed secondary schools had been commissioned by and a total of 117 were being constructed, and a total of 48 had been commissioned in each sub-region with four in Kigezi, eight in Ankole, twelve in Buganda, three in Bukedi, two in Bunyoro and two in Busoga.
Other four were commissioned in Karamoja, six in Lango, four in Teso, one in Toro and two in West Nile sub-regions. However, the majority of these schools have not been connected to the national grid and according to Okasai, connections are likely to start by the end of 2024.
“It is not going to be after 2025. The ambitious program is to have electricity connected to various centers, institutions, value addition facilities, water pumping stations, health centers by 2025, adding that the connections will commence towards the end of 2024.
Electricity coverage in the country
The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) estimates that as of December 2022, installed electricity capacity in Uganda was 1,402 megawatts (MW) with demand at 843 MW, leaving a surplus of 559 MW. Uganda’s largest hydropower project, the 600 MW Karuma Hydro Power Dam is slated to come fully come online by the end of 2023, after over four years of delays. The addition of the Karuma Hydro Power Dam is projected to boost Uganda’s total capacity by 44% and leave potentially over 1000 MW of excess power generation capacity. However, analysts believe a large, suppressed demand exists, particularly among industrial consumers, due to Uganda’s unreliable transmission and distribution systems. Despite these energy projects, Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Africa, primarily due to an overreliance on biomass sources in the energy mix, constrained electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure, limited access to off-grid solutions, limited productive use of energy, and uncoordinated intra- and inter-sectoral planning. In urban areas, 57.2% of Ugandans have access to electricity; however, access drops to 10% in rural areas, and it is only 22.1% nationwide.
As of December 2022, Uganda had approximately 3,385 km of transmission lines, which the government aims to increase to 4,354 km by 2025.
With all the above, urban centers still grapple with load shedding which makes the cost of doing business high, as businesses that solely depend on power have to buy stand-by generators in the unlikely event of a power black-out.
Upon the end of UMEME’s concession in 2025, the Government intends to establish one electricity company named Uganda National Electricity Company (UNEC), like the Uganda Electricity Board that was wound up in 1999, and the new company will bring together; the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), Uganda Electricity Distribution Company (UEDCL), Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL).