Uganda: The Relief Energy Savers Can Give
The Monitor (Kampala)
17 October 2008
Posted to the web 17 October 2008
DR Pereira Da Silva
Uganda is currently experiencing an energy crisis as the peak demand far exceeds the available power produced in the two only hydropower stations (less than 300MW) helped by a 100MW thermal power generating from two diesel plants recently installed.
This has a consequence-- the dreaded load-shedding. In a bid to address the situation the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) together with the World Bank purchased and distributed 534,000 Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL aka energy savers) to 180,000 customers of the distribution company, Umeme. These lines present an overview of the exercise, the findings and impact in the electricity system.
In quite a number of countries in the world incandescent bulbs have been phased out and even banned. This makes sense since energy savers can provide the same amount of light using 20 per cent of the energy consumed by the incandescent ones. Besides, pricewise energy savers are now cheaper than the incandescent if we consider that CFL lasts six times more than the incandescent.
Given the above, the MEMD approached the World Bank with a request for financing the distribution of 800,000 CFLs in Uganda. The funds were made available and an international tender was set for companies to provide the above number of bulbs. Osram won the tender and the energy savers arrived in Uganda in January 2007.
Yellow Pages Express won the bid to distribute three energy savers to each of the selected 180,000 consumers from Kampala, Jinja and Entebbe. Yellow Pages distributed 20W and 13W bulbs to replace the 100W and the75W respectively. It took almost six months for Yellow Pages to distribute 534,000 bulbs giving an average of 3000 bulbs distributed each day.
These bulbs are switched on everyday from 7pm to midnight. Data collected, after the completion of distribution of the energy savers, shows clearly that over the above mentioned period the peak demand fell by 30MW below the expected value if the exercise were not to have taken place. By the start of the distribution of energy savers, about 67 per cent of the bulbs in use in Uganda were incandescent. And this figure has now dropped to about 30 per cent.
The peak demand in 2007 would have been 415MW as the economy had been growing at a steady 6 per cent per annum between 2005 and 2007. Linearly it went from 365MW to 390MW from 2005 to 2006 and thus it would be supposed to continue growing and reach 415MW around the March-May period.
In order to supply the peak demand, Uganda has had recourse to thermal power production as the country has got 100MW produced by diesel generators. These generators come into play from 6pm to 10 or 11 pm for the majority of the customers.
The fluorescent bulb distribution thus provides savings as follows: It takes about 260 litres of diesel to produce 1MW per hour of electricity; the use of energy savers has saved more than 10,000 litres per hour. In monetary terms, considering the cost of fuel on bulk supply to be $1.30 per litre, the country is saving about $13,000 per hour (about Shs21m).
As the cost of the programme was 1.3 million dollars, all of it was recovered in just about 100 hours which, if we consider four hours of CFL use per day on average, it requires only 25 days to recover the investment and the following, say, two to three years of use of the energy savers offers the country a $13,000 per hour saving in energy efficiency. This is the power of new technology.
The exercise was a success worth replicating. The consequences were that the price of energy savers went down from Shs12,000 to Shs4,000. The government dropped all taxes on them and the campaign created a huge awareness among the customers, encouraging them to buy more energy savers to replace the incandescent ones. Thumbs up for the World Bank, thumbs up for the Ministry of Energy!
Dr Pereira Da Silva is director of Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation and a member of Daily Monitor Panel of Experts