Mbale and Elgon subregion’s electricity demand averages 20MW, but given the recent elevation to City status, the Government’s push for industrialization and the establishment of the Mbale Industrial Park, demand for power is expected to surge.
For this reason, power distributor Umeme has invested about Ugx55.7b into two big power projects to boost electricity supply quality and reliability in the Mbale City and the Elgon subregion.
The Umeme Elgon sub region covers Mbale City, Bulambuli, Manafwa, Bubulo, Butaleja, Kibuku, Pallisa, Bukedea, Kumi, Soroti and Kapchorwa.
The two projects are Ugx34bn Siti 2 Project and the Ugx22bn Mbale Industrial Park Project. Once complete, the two projects will grow Mbale’s electricity supply from the current 20MW to 61MW, a 205% growth.
The Siti 2 Project includes a 125-kilometre 33kV single circuit double poles line, evacuating power from the 16.5MW Siti 2 Hydro Power Project on River Siti in Bukwo District to Umeme’s sub-station in Mbale.
The substation is also being expanded with a new switching station and plant house. Umeme is also installing capacitor banks to stabilise power especially for industrial and commercial production.
To stabilise the power for industrial purposes, Umeme is also constructing a switching station and plant house at the Industrial Park.
“The Mbale projects are one of our major investments for 2020 in support of Government’s efforts to attract Industries and jobs in the eastern region. Having been granted City status, we expect demand in Mbale City and the surrounding areas to grow considerably fast. The industrial park alone is expected to consume 220MW of power at full capacity. In addition to the industrial park, there is a cement factory in the pipeline in Mbale,” Selestino Babungi, Umeme’s Managing Director explains.
Sitting on 619 acres, the Mbale Industrial Park, is expected to attract between 60-80 factories, which at peak will consume up to 220MW of power.
The Mbale investment is part of Umeme’s 2020 $83.3m (about Ugx310b) investment plan to increase the capacity of the grid, system reliability, loss reduction and customer connections