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Tororo residents approve $32m power project

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd December 2007 03:00 AM

THE Tororo leadership and residents have okayed the proposed $32m (about sh56b) power project. Electro-Maxx, the local power firm will build, operate and own the plant for three years. The deal is renewable.

THE Tororo leadership and residents have okayed the proposed $32m (about sh56b) power project. Electro-Maxx, the local power firm will build, operate and own the plant for three years. The deal is renewable.

By Ibrahim Kasita

THE Tororo leadership and residents have okayed the proposed $32m (about sh56b) power project. Electro-Maxx, the local power firm will build, operate and own the plant for three years. The deal is renewable.

The project approval follows a well-attended stakeholders’ public hearing in Tororo over the weekend. The project will be ready in six-month after the license has been granted.
Electro-Maxx and the Electricity Regulatory Authority, detailed the economic and social benefits of the project.

Patrick Bitature, the Electro-Maxx chairman, said the project would create “multiplier effect” for development of the area.

“This project is owned by Ugandans. I am happy to pioneer a local firm into electricity generation. This is the way to promote local investors and also attracting foreign investors,” he said.

Bitature, who is also the chairman Uganda Investment Authority, said the plant would transform the society from poverty especially the youth and women by providing employment and education.
“Industrialisation cannot happen without sufficient power. Industrialisation constraints are due to lack of enough power. The project will create a multiplier effect in the economy.

“Jobs are important because they give self dignity and every member is a useful member in society. In our social responsibility capacity, we shall embark on educating the girl-child, providing clean water for the community and fight against malaria,” Bitature pledged.
He disclosed that at the later stage of the project, Electro-Maxx, would introduce geotropha; a bio-diesel plant that will be used to blend fuel for the plant.

“Geotropha is easy to grow. Many families here will grow this plant for us to buy for blending our fuel which in turn will raise income for the local community and save millions of dollars in foreign exchange in imports for the country.”
Norbert Semitala, the ERA manager technical regulator, explained that Electro-Maxx’s project was far cheaper compared to the ordinary diesel thermal generators.

It will relieve the consumer from paying high tariffs, he added.
“Heavy-fuel oil is much cheaper than light diesel oil. This project will not require additional subsidies,” he said.

“The 10-megawatt heavy fuel oil project by Electro-Maxx is therefore highly-needed to contribute towards reduction of the current deficit.”
The current peak grid demand is estimated at 380 megawatts but only 251 megawatts are available, leaving a deficit of 129 megawatt at peak.

Two expensive diesel plants at Lugogo and Kiira thermal station generate 100 megawatts. This led to electricity price increment twice at sh400 per unit.
Simon Opio, the Tororo district council speaker, who represented the district chairman, said they welcomed the project. He said the district would guarantee security for the project.

“We need extra power generation for development, eradicating poverty and job creation for our people. The population is growing creating a need for increased usage of electricity,” he said.

“Tororo has a potential for phosphate mining, increased capacity for cement industry and more investments like the Malaba Inland Port. These huge projects require enough power and the project will provide that needed power.”
“Please Electricity Regulatory Authority, consider and issue Electro-Maxx the license for electricity generation for the betterment of the country.”

Johnson Kwesigabo, the ERA acting chief executive officer, said the stakeholders’ view was important before a decision to award a license was made.
“We want to attract local and international investors into the electricity sector. This is the only way we can increase electricity supply and achieve development goals,” he said.

“Electro-Maxx project will generate and sell electricity to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company at cheaper prices.”

A power purchase agreement has already been executed between the Eletro-Maxx and the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company to supply power for 18-hours daily. Caterpillar is the project engineering procurement contractor.

Tororo residents approve $32m power project

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