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Minister Nankabirwa Given 7 Days to Explain Nationwide Power Outages

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Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa

Members of Parliament have demanded from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development a comprehensive statement on persistent power outages currently being experienced nationwide.

Rising on a matter of national importance during plenary sitting on Thursday, legislators demanded to know how technically possible it is for the whole country to undergo a blackout with four major dams that include; Isimba, Karuma, Bujagali and Nalubaale each with its own transmission line and substations without any major national disaster.

Hoima City Woman Representative, Asinansi Nyakato pointed out that the entire country experienced a power outage on Wednesday and part of Thursday, noting that power outage is not being experienced for the first time and called for a permanent solution.

Geoffrey Macho, the Busia Municipality Member of Parliament was aggrieved that the persistent power outage has negatively impacted on several businesses in his constituency rendering the people who earn from welding, saloons and entertainment centres to count losses.

Equally, Denis Nyangwesho, the Samia Bugwe Central Member of Parliament told colleagues that in his constituency, water is pumped using electricity and because of the load shedding, water access has been affected.

But Justine Kasule Lumumba, the Minister of General Duties apologized for the load shedding, and committed to ensure that the Minister of Energy responds to the matter and gives urgent accountability and a way forward for what has happened.

In response, the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among directed the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development led by Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu to present a response on the matter next week to the House.

On Wednesday, the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited – UETCL, without giving reasons announced on its social media pages that they are experiencing a national blackout. “We shall keep you updated as we work on restoration of power. All inconveniences caused are regretted,” read the UETCL message to its stakeholders.

In August, the 183 megawatts Isimba Hydropower power plant in Kayunga district experienced a shutdown and affected electricity supply in several parts of the central region of Uganda. Energy Minister Nankabirwa blamed it on flooding and maintenance work but lawmakers up roared and cited corruption and connivance at the power plant.

As of December 2021, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), a government agency that regulates, licenses, and supervises the generation, transmission, distribution, sale, export, and importation of electrical energy estimates that installed electricity capacity in the country was 1,346 megawatts (MW) with demand at 800 MW, including 50 megawatts of power export to Kenya, leaving a surplus of 546 MW.

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