Maintainance Work at Kinyara Sugar Factory Disrupts Power Supplies

Comments 4011 Views Masindi, Uganda
Routine mechanical repairs at Kinyara Sugar Factory are costing businesses in Masindi and Hoima districts millions of shillings. In January this year Kinyara started supplying four megawatts of bio-generated electricity to the national grid. The electricity, made from sugarcane waste, helped to boost power in Hoima and Masindi that had suffered intermittent supplies for many years. Now after several months of stable power, Masindi and Hoima have been plunged into darkness. Many businesses that depend on electricity have been crippled by the blackouts. Ramadasan Vekatraman, General Manager of Kinyara Sugar Factory, says the factory is undergoing a shutdown to allow for general maintenance and repairs. He says normal operations will resume on November 20th. Rachel Munuunuzi sells fresh juice and food for a living. She says that since the power shortages started she has spent 20,000 shillings everyday to refuel her generator. Munuunuzi says it doesn't help that she has to pay an extra 40,000 shillings for electricity to Umeme. Masindi and Hoima now depend on power from the northern line from Apac district. Ramadasan Vekatraman says the power shortage is only temporary. He says the factory is undergoing expansion and next year it will have the capacity to produce 40 megawatts of electricity, most which will be sold to the national grid. Electricity at Kinyara Sugar Works is generated from crushed sugar cane fiber. The fiber, "bagasse" is burnt in large furnaces, to boil water that generates steam to drive electricity turbines.