Uganda: Half of Electricity Produced in Uganda Remains Unused, Says Govt


Almost half of the electricity produced in Uganda remains used, the Ministry of Energy has said.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, the acting assistant commissioner in charge of energy efficiency and conservation in the Ministry of Energy, Eng.David Birimumaaso said this state of affairs is appalling.

“Deemed energy has cost us a lot because this power is supplied but not consumed. Our consumption capacity is still very low. We have capacity to supply 1600MW but our demand is 850MW which is almost a half of the energy we can supply. It is a big challenge because it comes back to us,” Birimumaaso said.

Deemed energy is electricity that is available for dispatch by an independent power producer, but due to non-existent or a weak grid infrastructure and or insufficient demand, the power is not evacuated.

In Uganda’s case, most of the deemed energy is as a result of insufficient demand.

The Ministry of Energy official said that having too much electricity and not using it costs the country since all that is produced has to be paid for.

Whereas government invests a lot of money in electricity infrastructure, most of it remains redundant and expensive to maintain since the power is unused.

In his 2021 report, the Auditor General indicated that government paid an average of shs87 billion for unused electricity.

The Minister for Energy, Ruth Nankabirwa early this year described it as a shame that government invests money in infrastructure expecting to recoup it through electricity sold but this never happens.

High power tariffs

Many Ugandans have for many years cried foul over high power tariffs have attributed this state of affairs to a limited number of consumers of electricity.

Speaking on Wednesday, the acting assistant commissioner in charge of energy efficiency and conservation in the Ministry of Energy, Eng.David Birimumaaso said high power tariffs are some of the challenges the sector still faces.

He was however quick to attribute it to need to recover the investment into electricity infrastructure by government.

“We also have a challenge on high tariffs. The domestic consumers currently pay up to 20 US cents per unit We have always been asked to ensure the tariff is as low as possible so that it is affordable by every Ugandan but at the same time we must recover the investment because most of the money we used is borrowed. Our economists do the necessary research into tariff methodologies and from time to time we keep updating this. However, it is still a challenge because the consumers still say tariff is high.”