As part of the initiatives to grow industrial use of power, electrical equipment worth $308,421 (Shs 1.1 billion) will be installed at Kamuli substation.
Power distributor Umeme will install a second transformer and associated accessories at the facility, thereby doubling the substation’s capacity. Demand on the sole transformer currently in place is over and above the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Additionally, a conservative estimate puts the annual growth in load on the substation at three per cent.
“The existing 2.5MVA transformer exhibits a 2.4 loading. This translates into 96 per cent loading, which exceeds the best practice of 80 per cent maximum loading,” reads an extract of the justification for the upgrade.
“Therefore, there is imminent risk of damage or failure of the current transformer and its protection equipment if no intervention is sought,” it adds.
The Electricity Regulatory Authority has since approved the investment and Umeme is in the course of seeking offers to carry out work on the substation. Kamuli, largely an agricultural town located 144 kilometres east of Kampala, is home to Kamuli Sugar and Kenlon Industries Uganda.
Alongside the Kamuli substation upgrade, the other projects to address industrial load growth are the Jinja West switching station, MMP Buikwe industrial park feeder upgrade, Hoima load management and Entebbe Pearl Marina bays and metering.
We could not immediately establish how much Umeme will spend on each of the other projects. Aside from building substations, the other measures intended to encourage industrial consumption of power include lowering the retail tariff for large industrial consumers.
That said, upgrade of Kamuli substation is the latest in a series of similar efforts the distributor is undertaking. In March, the utility kick-started the process on modernising Gulu, Kisubi and Ntinda substations in order to ensure the power users that draw their supply from them get stable power throughout.
Still on substations, Umeme will put up new ones in Nakawa in Kampala and Nakasamba in Entebbe, Wakiso district. Improvement of Gulu, Kisubi, Kakiri as well as the Ntinda substations and the building of new ones in Nakawa and Nakasamba will gobble Shs 29.4 billion altogether.
The new substations will ease pressure on the old ones that have been supplying the aforementioned locations. Upgrading transformers to match load as will be done in Kamuli and the use of bigger cables help in reducing technical energy losses by reducing the strain on the equipment and ensuring fewer electrons are dissipated respectively.