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Umeme invests for Tororo industrial consumers

By Benon Ojiambo

Added 20th August 2018 03:42 PM

The originally existent Tororo Cement Industries (TCI) has also expanded and increased its production capacity.

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The originally existent Tororo Cement Industries (TCI) has also expanded and increased its production capacity.

PIC: Ongoing expansion of Tororo Cement to increase its production capacity by 1.2 metric tonnes annually


Richard Opio, a 30-year-old father of two beams with a wide smile as he talks about the benefits he has got from his job.

“I have been able to buy some livestock (two cows and four goats) that I rear in my home village of Mwello village, Mulanda subcounty in Tororo district,” Opio says.

Since July last year, Opio has been working with Global Network Limited as a mason at a site where Umeme, the largest power distributor, is constructing a new substation. Though he has been working at a mason since 2012, Opio describes this singular project as the best he has worked on.

“The payment is good. I am born in this area and I get all my food from home. Rent is lower which allows me to save,” he explained.

Just like Opio, Hellen Akumu, a 37-year-old mother of six says she has been able to earn an income since the construction started.

“I was a stay home peasant mother who was not doing anything for commercial purposes,” Akumu, who cooks for workers at the construction site, says.

Opio and Akumu are among the many employees who have been employed at this construction site since July last year. Tororo district has of recent seen an influx of industries setting up in the area.

The substation at the National Cement factory that will be fed by the Umeme distribution line from Nyakesi substation


National Cement, Simba and Hima Cement are expected to start production this year. Both the Hima and Simba cement factories have a projected power demand of 20 megawatts (MW) with respective demand of 12MW and 8MW.

The originally existent Tororo Cement Industries (TCI) has also expanded and increased its production capacity.

As new factories rush to open shop in Tororo, the power distributor is making the requisite preparations in investments in anticipation of the projected increase in demand.

However, the existing nearby substations of Tororo Rock, Nagongera and Mbale are currently incapacitated to take on the expected load necessitating the need for a new substation.

As such, Umeme has invested up to $3.88m (about sh14b) into setting up a new substation at Nyakesi, an investment that is tipped to boost industrialisation in the area through reliable power supply.

Richard Opio, a mason at Nyakesi sub-station in Tororo

Civil works at the project that was contracted to Global Network Limited are currently estimated to be 81% complete. It is expected to be completed by end of next month.

The capacity works include installation of two transformers of 20MVA each, seven switch gears of 33KV and five switch gears of 11KV.

This is expected to meet the anticipated maximum demand, power quality, stability and reliability requirement around the potentially growing industrial park. Therefore, Umeme needed to boost the present supply. 


Tororo Cement, the initially sole existent cement manufacturer in the area has sunk about $30m (about sh108b) into expansion of its current factory that shall see it increase its installed production capacity by an annual 1.2 metric tonnes.

This will bring its installed production capacity to three million metric tonnes from the current 1.8 million metric tonnes.

With Tororo Cement increasing its production capacity, Umeme has also invested $455,000 (about sh1.6b) to avail its biggest customer countrywide with an additional 10MW.

Umeme’s service centre in Tororo municipality

The additional load meant that a dedicated feed would be required to meet the ever growing demand justifying the sh1.6b. The works here have included construction of a 6.8km double socket concrete pole to guarantee reliable and stable supply.

“We have been having challenges of unstable power supply. Cement manufacturing is a continuous process and as such, we need stable power supply,” Brij Gagrani, Tororo Cement executive director said.

The works involved supporting the ever growing load, which necessitated the increasing of the feeder carriage capacity through conductor size uprate.

With an installed generation capacity of about 930MW and an additional expected 896.76MW from other projects under construction, there is need to invest in other segments of electricity sub-sector.

These are inclusive of Uganda’s flagship projects of 600MW Karuma and 183MW Isimba hydro projects that are expected to be commissioned before end of year.

The power distributor plans to invest up to $70m (about sh259b), up from $65m (about sh240b) in anticipation of the expected generation increase.

“Over 70% of our power is consumed by industrial customers. It is fundamental that when for the new generation coming on board, we concentrate on large consumers. We need big industries to take up this power,” Selestino Babungi, the Umeme managing director, said.

He explained that Uganda needs to model its new generation around industrial and commercial consumers that will lead to job creation and economic development, which puts money in the pockets of households.

“That is why we are advocating industrial development, commercial production, value addition and cottage industries,” he added.


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