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Vandalism, theft threaten Bujagali transmission line

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd November 2009 03:00 AM

VANDALISM and theft of electrical equipment are threatening the on-going construction of the Bujagali transmission line, Glenn Gaydar, the Bujagali Energy Limited project director, has said. He said angle nuts, stay earth wires and galvanised angle bars f

VANDALISM and theft of electrical equipment are threatening the on-going construction of the Bujagali transmission line, Glenn Gaydar, the Bujagali Energy Limited project director, has said. He said angle nuts, stay earth wires and galvanised angle bars f

By Ibrahim Kasita

VANDALISM and theft of electrical equipment are threatening the on-going construction of the Bujagali transmission line, Glenn Gaydar, the Bujagali Energy Limited project director, has said. He said angle nuts, stay earth wires and galvanised angle bars for the power pylons (towers) were cut and stolen by unknown thugs recently.

This, he added, might delay and increase the project costs. “This is compromising the strength of power towers, putting the transmission line at risk of collapsing ,” Gaydar said.

“Unless something is done to stop these vices, the project could stall despite efforts to ensure power is connected onto the national grid in time.”

The Bujagali power transmission line project is sponsored by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL). It is needed to connect electricity from the 250MW Bujagali hydro-power project to the national grid.

Bujagali Energy Limited, which is funding the hydro-power project, is working with UETCL to construct the transmission line. The interconnection project includes 97km of new power transmission lines and a sub-station at Kawanda.

The negative developments have emerged at a time when Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania had last year agreed to suspend trade in and export of scrap metals to fight vandalisation of electrical and water equipment.

Utility companies have on many ocassions complained that vandalising their equipment was costing the them billions of shillings. The vice risks a regional blackout and threatens security of banks information systems, the transmission company said.

Sources at the energy ministry said theft of transmission wires and towers were common on the Nalubaale-Lugogo and Nalubaale-Kampala North lines. These lines cover areas that include Mabira forest, Lugazi sugar plantation, Njeru, Kitigoma, Nyenga, Mbiko in Mukono, Rakai, Ndeeba and Katwe in Kampala.

The same problem occurred on the Nalubaale-Tororo transmission line, where towers at Kakira in Jinja, Mayuge and Muwayo in Tororo collapsed as a result of vandalism. This affected power supply to the eastern and northern regions.

The vandals steal tonnes of wires, transformer oil and galvanised angle bars for the power towers. This costs the Government highly in maintenance and threatens loss of revenue. Financial analysts calculate that reconstruction of a tower costs between sh30m to sh40m.

Such vandalism, according experts, was economic sabotage.

Vandalism, theft threaten Bujagali transmission line

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