Isimba power plant is back on the national grid after all the three power generation units were restored. The three units were shut down after the dam was flooded two weeks ago, pushing the country into load shedding that was last experienced nearly a decade ago.
Officials at Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) told media in an interview yesterday that the third unit was restored on Monday night.
With the three units (Unit 1, 2 and 4) operational, the UEGCL is now generating 136MW.
“As a result of the restoration of three units at Isimba hydropower station, the plant has resumed normal generation as was the case prior to the emergency shutdown,” a public notice from UEGCL reads.
UEGCL officials were able to restore the first two of the four Kaplan axial flow turbines that generate electricity last week. Each of the turbine units has a generation capacity of 45.5MW.
The two restored turbines—one on Friday evening and the second on Saturday last week, brought on board 91.4MW.
On Sunday during the onsite visit of the plant by the Energy and Mineral Development minister Ruth Nankabirwa, the officials promised to restore the third unit by Tuesday (yesterday).
The UEGCL chief executive officer, Mr Harrison Mutikanga, said the fourth turbine is expected to be switched on by the end of the month.
This will fully restore the plant to its full capacity of 183MW. The fourth turbine, Unit 3, was under defects rectification by the time the dam flooded.
Consequently, the plans to import power from Kenya to cover the deficit as it had earlier been announced by the government have been cancelled.
Officials from Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) said the country has gone back to its previous arrangement of exporting power to Kenya, an arrangement that has been ongoing since 1954.
The government is slated to export 50MW to Kenya as payment in kind for the power acquired last week to plug the gap occasioned by the emergency shutdown of Isimba power dam.
Kenya, according to sources familiar with the matter, first dispatched 60MW to Uganda to deal with the deficit. The dispatches, however, gradually reduced to 40MW by last Friday when the first turbine of Isimba dam was restored.
Both Parliament and UEGCL are still investigating what caused the flooding at the dam.