The 250-megawatt Bujagali hydropower plant that started supplying electricity to the national grid in February added another 50 megawatts to the national grid this week, Authorities confirmed yesterday.

Government officials said the reliability test run for the third 50 megawatt unit was completed last week, bringing to 150 megawatts the total amount of power being generated from the plant.

Bujagali Energy Ltd confirmed the developments but said the reliability test run for the third 50MW unit will be completed this week.

Mr Bill Groth, Bujagali Energy Limited resident construction manager, said the engineers are presently running the unit through a series of ‘commissioning tests’ to ascertain their performance.

“We are still doing the testing. Hopefully, we shall have the unit within a week,” he said yesterday.

The first unit was commissioned in mid-February and the second in April, reducing the 12-hour loadshedding to two hours.

While BEL says it is commissioning the third unit, the Electricity Regulatory Authority confirmed the latest addition is on board and the fourth unit is expected next week, bringing the total to 200MW.

Power distributor Umeme’s chief commercial officer Florence Nsubuga said she could not confirm the additional 50MW.

Bujagali power plant, whose construction started in 2006, is expected to produce a total of 250MW upon completion in July. Uganda has been relying on expensive thermal electricity. However, last November government said it is decommissioning all the emergency thermal plants, which have cost the nation Shs1.53 trillion since 2005 in subsides. It plans to use the savings to finance public infrastructure projects, including the construction of the 600MW Karuma Hydropower project, whose construction is expected to starts in June 2012.

Industry experts, however, say the Bujagali project will only provide temporary relief as demand is growing at 9 per cent per annum. Power demand is currently at 450MW against the supply of 350MW. But other industry players well versed with power sector, however, expect the country to be able to comfortably meet demand post-Bujagali for about three years.