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EXCLUSIVE: Museveni to Visit Nalubaale Dam After Nationwide Blackout 

President Museveni is this Sunday expected to travel to Jinja for a technical briefing on the floating island which triggered a nationwide power outage this past Tuesday.

ChimpReports understands that President Museveni a few days ago met with officials from ESKOM, UPDF and Ministry of Energy at State House to understand why the floating island was able to disrupt power supply across the country.

Museveni is said to have informed the meeting that one of the main causes of floating islands was environmental degradation.

The President was informed that UPDF which monitors all activities on Lake Victoria, day and night, informed the Energy Ministry officials at Nalubaale dam about the approaching floating island at around 1:00am on Monday.

Museveni, according to informed officials, will seek clarity on actions taken by relevant energy ministry officials before the floating island closed in on the dam.

The President’s trip to Nalubaale was today confirmed by his deputy press secretary, Lindah Nabusayi when contacted by ChimpReports.

According to a report by the National Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL), prior to blackout, Uganda power system was in an emergency situation occasioned by power generation curtailment at the Nalubaale, Kira and Bujagali large hydro plants.

The operators of the two plants attributed this curtailment to a large island of hyacinth a papyrus that arrived at the intake of Nalubaale power station overnight.

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This in turn caused the choking/clogging of the intake screens thus affecting the cooling system of generation machines and eventual forced shutdown of said generation machines.

Consequently, Bujagali could only produce 50 megawatts (MW) out of a possible 250 MW while Nalubaale could only output 145MW.

The report showed that power generation from Isimba hydro plant remained stable at 150MW.

The Kenya power system to which Uganda is interconnected offered some temporary support of some 20MW exports from Kenya to Uganda.

This situation was exacerbated by further sudden loss of generation from the Kakira cogeneration plant that triggered overload on the remaining generation machines that shutdown in cascade: Power imports from Kenya were also lost as the systems (Uganda-Kenya) decoupled leading to the total blackout.

Tough times ahead

Officials said the emergency power supply is not yet overcome as this requires the complete removal of floating hyacinth/papyrus mass.

The Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi recently visited Nalubaale dam to assess the progress of a joint effort to remove the floating island from the Nile.

The UPDF Chief of Engineers Brigade, Brig Gen Besigye Bekunda, said the Silt from the vegetation blocked turbines which affected power generation and will be removed mechanically using excavators and tippers from Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre (URDCC) and ministry of works.

Brig Bekunda also warned of another floating island 7 kilometres away approaching the dam which he said needed to be blocked using a wire mesh before it reaches the Dam to cause more damage.

“All this is due to the increasing water levels of Lake Victoria due to heavy rains and human activity,” said Brig Bekunda.

The clearing of the floating island is expected to be concluded early next week.

UETCL this past Tuesday said the power supply was “still volatile but all endevour was being made to limit the now most probable onset of emergency load shedding by increasing the thermal generation output at the Namanve thermal power plant.”

The economy is already paying a heavy price for the COVID-19 lockdown and night curfew. A national blackout for several days would worsen the situation as millions of Ugandans remain home.

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