Source: The Monitor
13 August 2008 - Nine Nile Basin countries have concluded the second preparatory meeting to discuss power trading between utilities in Eastern Africa aimed at providing cheaper electricity to member countries.The meeting jointly organised by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Plan (NELSAP), Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP), Common Market for East And Southern Africa (COMESA) with funding given to the EAPP by the USAID East Africa was held at the Imperial Royal Hotel Kampala and ended on Thursday 7 August.
Countries, participating in the negotiations include: Rwanda Burundi Kenya Tanzania, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Sudan, Egypt and Uganda. They are expected to sign bilateral and transmission Wheeling agreements. Under the bilateral arrangements any two of the member countries can engage in electricity trade and ten countries have paired up already to prepare for the trade negotiations which are expected to start in November, should the funding come.The wheeling agreement (Transit Agreement), will allow any two countries in the region that are not necessarily neighbours to trade in electricity. It will also facilitate the construction of pylons for interconnection of power between the countries and it will be the basis upon which the percentage to compensate the electricity transitory country will be calculated.According to Mr Nagash Engedasew the Executive Secretary of EAPP, the meetings are part of the process of preparing to implement the Power System Interconnection Project that entails High Voltage connection lines which are inter-border transmission lines as well.Uganda and Kenya have had a 50-year-old similar arrangement, which expired this year, and they are already renegotiating the renewal of the agreement.
Among the benefits of the project are, improving availability of power and economies of scale since there will be larger markets. It will also enhance the exploitation of diverse power sources like gas, geo thermal and hydro electricity. It will also help in energy access for rural population because of cheaper energy and contribute to poverty reduction, which it is hoped will contribute to foreign direct investment.
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