The Minister of State for Minerals, Hon. Peter Lokeris, has allayed the fears of legislators about the frequent power outage in Northern Uganda, saying government has taken mitigation steps.
Lokeris, who was making a statement before Parliament on Wednesday, 6 November 2019, regretted the prolonged power outage in the Acholi sub region over the weekend of Friday 1st to Sunday 4th of November 2019 caused by a broken wooden pole in the swamp along the Soroti and Lira substations.
He noted that the energy ministry has responded with installation of a second transformer at the Lira substation to double its capacity from 20Mw to 40MW.
“This intervention has increased power reliability in the region as implementation of short term and medium term interventions are at different levels,” said Lokeris.
Lokeris told Parliament that the Tororo – Opuyo – Lira transmission line that services Gulu and Kitgum districts experiences breakdown especially in swampy areas. “It took long to restore power supply as the swamp was water logged due to the heavy rains hindering quick erection of new poles,” said Lokeris.
MPs said the explanation for the blackout that affected Gulu, Lira and Kigtum districts was a lame excuse.
“The traditional transmission lines are not operational. During the dry season, they tell us that the poles have been burnt, during the rainy season, they tell us the swamps are water logged. What is that?” asked Gulu Municipality MP, Hon. Lyandro Komakech.
Minister Lokeris explained that government has resorted to use of pylons rather than the wooden poles to avert the risks associated with the latter and revealed that the pylons were already being used in the construction of the Tororo – Opuyo – Lira transmission line expected to be completed by 2020.
He assured Parliament that construction of the Aswa Dam expected to be complete by November 2019, will stabilise power supply in Gulu, Kitgum and the nearby areas.
Nwoya Woman MP, Hon. Lilly Adong asked the minister to fast track renovation of existing lines saying the situation is alarming.
“Each month we receive power for less than 15 days, milling machines cannot operate, saloons do not operate, we cannot manufacture, all investors who had factories in Gulu moved to Lira,” said Adong.
The Minister was directed by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to report back to Parliament with an exhaustive statement on mitigation steps being taken in specific districts as per the MPs’ submission.