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Page added on June 29, 2006

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Uganda: Solutions to the Electricity Crisis

It is hard to be a civil servant and worse if you are an energy officer in this country. Load-shedding has subjected us to listening to bitter complaints, insults and accusations of an incompetent government. This to me, as an energy officer, means everybody hates load-shedding and I do agree that load-shedding is the worst solution to solving an energy crisis. I genuinely think without pointing fingers some solutions are within our midst. One of these is just being efficient in energy use.

We all know that government has big plans to reduce load-shedding by increasing power supply in the near future. For example, sh99b was allocated in the budget for Karuma and Bujagali dams, and the turbines should be turning in a few years. Another allocation has been made for thermal power generation. But we also need to change our power consumption habits. Let me share with you these living examples of energy efficiency practice to demonstrate that we all can do something to improve the situation.

Wise commercial consumer

A hotel in Tororo, with 10 rooms, a bar and restaurant made smart efficient choices. This hotel used to have incandescent bulbs rated 100W each and changed all of them to energy savers of 15W, all the security lights changed to 20W and installed an inverter system to cover all the room and bar lights, television and DSTV system. In doing so the hotel saved 850W on room lights and in this hotel you only recognise load-shedding if you want to take a shower or charge a phone. They went ahead to provide one socket to charge phones for their customers in the bar when power is off. In the hours when electricity is on, the deep cycle batteries are fully charged and used when power is off. These are options, which could be adopted by the domestic electricity consumers. They could as well have installed a solar water heater if funds were available.

Efficient domestic user

On a household level, a friend with a self-contained house near Kireka with three rooms, bathroom, corridor, dining, sitting room, toilet, garage and kitchen changed all his 15 incandescent lights to energy savers rated 11W, saving 1355W. In doing so, his electricity bill dropped from sh70, 679 to sh25, 000, indicating a drop of 64% in electricity bill. Recently he installed a simple inverter system to his house for the world cup.

New Visions (Kampala)

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