BY AMBROSE GAHENE
President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday commissioned Umeme’s upgraded multibillion Mbale Substation near Bugema. Mr. Selestino Babungi, the Umeme Managing Director, explained that the $17m (about sh64b) modern substation will now make electricity supply in eastern region more reliable resulting from the integration of the new transmission 50MW substation at the Mbale Industrial Park.
He said the capacity banks installed will stabilise voltages and quality of supply to industrial customers.Babungi noted the upgrading of the substation has now created flexibility in supply from varying sources such as Tororo, Siti 2 and UETCL 132KV Substation
“The extra capacity provides room for growth in industrial demand from the current 25MW to over 112.5MW,” he observed.
He said Umeme has opened four zonal offices in Pallisa, Sironko, Kumi and Kapchorwa to improve service delivery.
“We believe reliable electricity is a core ingredient in the drive to industrialisation, economic transformation and ultimate job creation and improvement of household incomes,” Babungi said.
The Bugisu region was experiencing constrained and unreliable electricity supply that in effect affected the social economic development of the area.
The region was being served by two lines, totalling 25MW from Tororo that were operating at maximum capacity.
In addition, the Mbale Industrial Park was fast developing, with investors demanding for higher capacity and quality electricity supply.
To address the challenges, Umeme has invested US$ 17 million in the upgrade and construction of distribution infrastructure and Mbale substation upgrade.
The project has increased the distribution capacity 4.5 times from 25MW to 112.5 MW, through an integration solution.
Energy Minister Dr Mary Goretti Kitui said the old substation had maxed up its capacity.
“The challenge came in after the industrial park was established. But now we have supply alternatives such that when one line is off, the affected areas will be fed with the alternative supply lines. Bugisu region will not suffer again with this supply facility,” the minister said.