Large industry power usage grows by 3%


By Eronie Kamukama

Kampala. Uganda’s extra-large industrial power consumption rose by 3 per cent following the reduction in off-peak tariffs to five cents.

Government achieved the reduction in the tariff through the debt refinancing of Bujagali Energy Limited project and is now studying the impact on extra-large industries.
“In the past two and a half months, we have noticed a 3 per cent increment in consumption,” Ms Ziria Tibalwa Waako, the Electricity Regulatory Authority chief executive officer, said.

Mr Daniel Birungi, the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) chief executive officer, said the manufacturing sector had in the last nine months grown as regards output, with a number of factories coming on board in the past year.
This, he said, could have boosted the apparent growth in the electricity sub-sector.

“We are seeing more and more members getting more efficient in their production. They are importing newer machines, embracing new technology all of which are improving productivity and this has translated into better quality products and better appreciation by consumers,” Mr Birungi says.
No new figures were provided, however, in its last survey, UMA indicated the manufacturing sector was operating at 54 per cent of installed capacity, which below expectations.

This essentially means that a factory operates a single shift before machines are switched off.
Manufacturers are saying they need to get into 24-hour operation if they are to remain competitive.

Mr Birungi said they were optimistic of remaining competitive upto the close of this year as they continue to engage government on a number of challenges such as electricity and market availability among others.
“There was a bit of reduction in tariffs for extra large consumers of electricity. But then there was an increment in other sections which affects the ability to compete effectively,” he said.

Driving the growth
The growth could have been driven by tariff reductions to about five cents. However, manufacturers are still demanding for more reductions.

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