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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lights On, Lights Off- Kampala's Power Struggle!

Electricity supply in Kampala is sporadic at best. Currently 24 hours on, 24 hours off. That means traffic lights as well! It is the Jekyll and Hyde of national grids. Bizarre? Well the explanation has an element of amusement too.

The water levels in Lake Victoria have been low for the last few years- and it is there where the city’s power is generated by a massive hydro-electric dam. Low water levels have meant that the demand for power can’t be met.

Meanwhile however… Uganda is exporting electricity to Kenya! Rewind a few years when the dam was being build, and Uganda struck a deal with Kenya which locked them into a power provision contract, which they now can’t get out of. So while Kampala is in darkness, it is lights on across the border.

Tonight it is ‘lights on’. What a luxury; I get to charge some batteries!


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