One of the two power distribution transformers at Gulu substation will be decommissioned as Umeme Limited looks to replace it with one with a higher capacity, a move that is expected to boost power supply in the region.
The targeted voltage modifier, which the manufacturer rated 2.5MVA, is buckling under the pressure of demand. It is overloaded by 10 percentage points, which is against the manufacturer’s recommendation. Umeme is to install a transformer that is double that capacity, the company said in a statement. Also, Umeme will mount a new switchgear (a device used to de-energise an electrical substation to allow work to be done as well as to clear faults downstream).
“It will substitute the wooden pillars and electrical bars on them with underground cables and erect a building to protect the equipment from adverse weather,” the statement pointed out.
The project manager, Daudi Sserunkuma, said: “The demand on the distribution system in Gulu has been increasing since 2006. So, we are going to upgrade the substation to improve power supply and reliability.”
Sserunkuma said they expect to commission the modernised substation in November. Gulu substation serves 13,500 customers in Gulu itself, Oyam, Nwoya and Amuru districts.
It gets power from Achwa dam as well as from the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) substation in Lira district. The total cost for these investments will be $1.3 million (Shs 4.8 billion).
Other power utilities like UETCL and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) have embarked on projects that will improve the quality of power supply to not only Gulu but northern Uganda generally. For instance, UETCL is currently erecting durable steel towers to transport high-voltage power from Tororo to Lira.
Relatedly, once government funding comes through, and project-affected persons allow, the transmission company will erect high-voltage lines from Achwa I and II dams to the UETCL substation in Gulu and another to be built in Kitgum, the statement added.
On its part, UEDCL, using the Shs 30bn the government allocated it for the purpose, is putting up a medium-voltage line from Achwa II to Gulu. Meanwhile, Shs 1.6 billion refurbishment of the 17-kilometre line supplying Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is complete.
The renovation involved the replacement of thinner cables with thicker ones in order to reduce technical energy losses. The line was refurbished to ensure the hospital, which serves Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum and Pader, among others, gets reliable power.