Why the entire country was plunged into darkness on Wednesday

The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) has come out to explain the nationwide power outage that the country experienced Wednesday evening.

At about 7:00pm on Wednesday, the country was plunged into darkness from the City Centre to the farthest connection upcountry. Power distributor Umeme would later distance themselves from the blackout when they tweeted that UETCL was investigating the matter.

However, in a statement released Thursday evening, UETCL claims that the power outage was caused by a system failure at Bujagali 220/132kV transmission Switchyard.

“The blackout occurred at 19.00hrs when one of the equipment at the Switchyard exploded causing damage to one of the transformers at the Switchyard, resulting into a system fault and all generator units at the Bujagali 250MW Hydro Power Dam in Jinja went off,” the statement reads in part

UETCL says that the system failure caused the generators at the Bujagali dam to go off causing a supply deficit on the system and the other generators on the system could not sustain the national power demand causing a total power blackout.

The Uganda power system was re-energised by the interconnection with the Kenya system at Tororo at 7:50pm, which was extended to the Bujagali and Nalubale transmission Switchyards at 7:58pm.

“At 20.03 hours the first generator at the Bujagali 250 MW was restored and the first transmission power line was back on the system at 20.04 hours and by 21.55hours all the transmission lines were back in the system as more generation capacity was added on the system, restoring full power supply to all load centers in the country,” the statement continues.

In July this year, generators at the Kiira and Nalubaale hydropower plants failed, plunging the entire country into darkness for three hours.

In November 2013, residents of Kampala went without power for hours after fire licked up the Kampala North UETCL/Umeme substation.

The fire was attributed to a failure by a protection system on the Nakulabye feeder. That failure led to the heating up of the cables in the control room of the Umeme, Uganda’s main power distributor, portion of the substation.

It also led to the heating up of the cables running up to the series reactor for the 132/11kV transformer.

As a result of this, the Umeme control room and the series reactor were damaged.





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