Uganda: Energy Savers Cut Power Consumption By 30mw – Minister

The campaign to distribute power savers has contributed to the development

Uganda reduced its electricity consumption by 30 megawatts by replacing 750, 000 ordinary bulbs with 'energy savers', Energy State minister Simon D'Ujanga has said.

Government spent $4.1 million (Shs13.8 billion) on the energy savers it distributed through power distribution company Umeme between October 2014 and April 2016.

The project was meant to check demand, which policy makers were afraid could lead to suppressed demand out-stripping generation (supply) in the short term.

Were the demand to outstrip supply, as it happened in the mid 2000s, it would necessitate power rationing, which could call for the use of emergency thermal generation - an expensive source.

Also, load shedding could force some manufacturers to use generations, thus, increasing their cost of production - a cost some could pass on to the consumers through increased prices.

Umeme gave the bulbs to some households in Kampala city, Entebbe and Wakiso.

Each household got three energy savers in exchange for three incandescent bulbs.

"We have seen the effect," Mr D'Ujanga said during a climate change exhibition at the Commonwealth Gardens in Kampala on Tuesday. Mr D'Ujanga did not delve into the previous and the current consumption levels.

But according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority suppressed demand for power currently peaks at 539MW.

During the off peak hours (midnight to 6am), the demand drops to 389MW but increases to 474MW during shoulder hours (7am to 5:59pm).

Uganda has an installed generation capacity of 852MW, meaning it has the potential to produce more than it currently consumes.

Still, Mr D'Ujanga said it is good to save energy because "It is cheaper to save energy than to build a [power] generation station".

Though energy saving bulbs were given out, some households did not receive them.

When contacted, Umeme's media manager Stephen Ilungole said those who did not receive the energy savers might not have been home when the bulbs were being distributed.

Source: The Monitor.

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