Eskom Uganda Limited (EUL), the country’s largest electricity generator, will invest $20 million in the operation and maintaining efficiency of the Nalubaale and Kiira power plants in Jinja.
The 5-year plan will involve minor repairs on the dam, replacement of generator transformers and controller systems that help in mounting and controlling turbines. Together with the $15 million initial investment over the last nine years, this will bring to $35million the total investment injected by the company since its entry into Uganda in 2002.
“We would like as much as possible to keep the lights on by constantly monitoring and maintaining the efficiency of the plants as best as we can,” says Ms Nokwanda Mngeni, the Eskom Uganda Ltd Managing Director.
Steven Byaruhanga, Eskom’s Finance manager, said the company spends almost 25% of its budget on maintenance costs. He said a total of Shs 2.5bn was spent in 2012 on maintenance costs alone.
Asked about the bridge’s life span in the wake of cracks underneath the bridge, Nokwanda said: “In 2010, we consulted an independent engineer from Canada, and we were told that we have another 20 years. In terms of the aging plant, you can replace the components and constant monitoring of the cracks”.
Eskom Uganda Ltd was incorporated in 2002 and awarded a concession to operate and maintain Nalubaale and Kiira Hydro Power Stations in Jinja for 20 years. Eskom sells the hydro power electricity it generates to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) as the authorized single buyer. UETCL in turn sells the electricity to the distributor, Umeme.