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MPs plead for West Nile power utility

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd December 2009 03:00 AM

THE parliamentary committee on government assurance has advised against terminating the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO’s) contract to generate and supply power in the region, saying it would be costly.

THE parliamentary committee on government assurance has advised against terminating the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO’s) contract to generate and supply power in the region, saying it would be costly.

By Frank Mugabi
and Richard Adrama

THE parliamentary committee on government assurance has advised against terminating the West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECO’s) contract to generate and supply power in the region, saying it would be costly.

“From what we have seen, the region will have power by December next year.

Terminating the contract now will be costly in terms of time and resources,” the committee vice-chairperson, Odonga Otto, argued.

This was after the MPs inspected WENRECO’s power projects including Nyagak mini-hydro dam in Nebbi district and the Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) thermal plant in Arua.

The MPs capped their tour with a public hearing at the Catholic Centre in Arua town on Friday.

West Nile residents have been pressurising the Government to terminate WENRECO’s 20-year contract over irregular power supply and the delay to complete the Nyagak dam.
The Government and the Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) Kenya, owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, agreed to set up a 1.5 megawatt heavy-oil thermal plant to provide electricity to the West Nile region.

The firm was also supposed to build another 3.5 megawatt hydro-power project on River Nyagak.A special purpose company, WENRECO, was formed to operate the two projects.
However, both projects have been on-and-off, generating a public fury.

In the same vein, the Electricity Regulatory Authority also recently served the company with two notices to show cause why its contract should not be revoked.

The WENRECO was supposed to supply power to West Nile for 18 hours daily and also develop and commission the 5MW Nyagak mini-hydro-power project by March 2006.

However, to date the dam is incomplete while power from the thermal plant has been inconsistent, especially this year. But the legislators cast a new ray of hope, saying the dam shall be complete by July 2010.

“75% of the work at the site is finished and there are new signs that completion of the project is now in sight,” Santos Erwaga (East Moyo) said.

The remaining tasks as highlighted by the MPs basing on the explanation of engineers were works on the main dam and extension of the water flow tunnel.
The power house was long completed before work stalled early this year.

However, during the public hearing, residents castigated the Government for failing to extend the national grid to West Nile while power continues to be exported to neighbouring countries.

“Tell the President that we need power. Why do we export power to Rwanda and yet a region like this is not served?” Martha Tiko, a consumer, complained.

Nebbi LC5 chairman, Pascal Wapokura, argued thatresidents should be given the works schedule so that they track the progress.

MPs plead for West Nile power utility

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