Transmission agency, Shumuk Industries clash over power lines

THE Uganda Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) and Shumuk Aluminium Industries have clashed over Plot 148-152 on Makabya Road in Nakawa, Kampala. The aluminium giant is constructing a recreation park and an assembling plant for its pre-fabricated aluminum products and offices on the plot. This is said to affect the earth works around the UETCL tower, compromising the stability of the electricity pylons around the area. The development is threatening to prolong load-shedding in the city and the western region.

The two pylons are among the 1, 400km transmission lines installed with single mode optical fibre, which provides data and communication infrastructure to banks and telecommunication companies. To reconstruct a tower costs between sh30m and sh40m. This takes four weeks to complete. Eriasi Kiyemba, the UETCL head, in a letter to Shumuk, said the electricity pylons would collapse due to the weakening of the ground.

“We have been rather shocked at the rate at which work has started on the said plot without our consultation,” he wrote.

“As a result, the electricity pylons have been compromised and exposed and may easily collapse due to the weakening of the ground around it as its foundation has been weakened.”

Kiyemba explained that in the event that the pylons collapse, this will lead to a breakdown in the supply of power, creating a black-out in more than half of the country, which will take three to four weeks to rectify.

He instructed the aluminum fabrication firm to “immediately carryout immediate remedial measures to restore the integrity of the tower. The measures shall involve prior submission of civil work designs for the approval of UETCL and the subsequent supervision of the works by UETCL.” “Submit a work-plan/schedule for the proposed development to enable UETCL monitor compliance with the conditions listed in earlier correspondences,” Kiyemba demanded.

“Failure to adhere to our immediate demands within one day from the above-mentioned date will leave us with no option but to commence criminal proceedings against you.”

However, Patrick Muheirweho, the Shumuk project co-ordinator, said: “We have discovered that our contractor erred by grading around the UETCL tower foundation without your engineer’s supervision.”

“We have stopped him and requested that our competent engineers in consultation with your engineers submit drawings pertaining to enforcing the tower foundation and that error should be corrected before our contractors embark on any other works.”

Muheirwoha said the firm had requested its contractor not to carry out any other works near UETCL installations without guidance. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused and we assure you we shall abide by our earlier agreed regulation,” he said.

By Ibrahim Kasita