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Keeping the lights on at Kisiizi Hospital

A hydroplant to power a rural hospital in Uganda.
Econnect, renewable energy specialists, have been working on a UK Government DTI funded project to improve the efficiency and accessibility of micro
hydropower through intelligent load management for a charity hospital in Kisiizi, South West Uganda. Situated 30km away from the Ugandan National Grid, the hospital has been dependent on a stand-alone hydro scheme for its electricity supply since it was built in 1958. Inevitably, electricity demand has risen as the hospital has grown, resulting in the potential for blackouts, which occur when demand exceeds supply.


  • Areas of the hospital have been prioritised so that they do not suffer from blackouts.  Non-essential loads are shed when demand is approaching blackout levels to prevent power being lost from high priority areas, such as operating theatres.
  • The load controllers have been fitted in staff residences to improve the quality of life for the staff and to help to attract and to retain skilled staff.  When there is very low demand, such as during the night, the excess supply is used to heat water.  Previously, hot water to wash with was considered a luxury.

  • The first visit to Kisiizi to install the monitoring system took place in March 2002, with a second trip in August 2002 to install the load management equipment.  A third trip took place in November 2002 when excellent feedback was obtained.

    Safety Feature
    The controllers have been fitted with an additional safety feature, which allows the user to manually switch devices, such as irons and electric cookers, back on when the power becomes available.  This will prevent any accidents arising, should the user leave the devices unattended, while the power has been temporarily shed.

    Local staff have been trained to install, commission and maintain the equipment.
    Excellent feedback has been received:

    • "I no longer know where my candles and matches are!"
    • "Previously, operating in pitch darkness increased the hazards slightly for the patient!"
    • "We can once again confidently say that we have better and more reliable power at Kisiizi than at either Kampala or Kabale, It's also free - that is a good tool for attracting staff."

    Additional information:
    News date: 10/01/2003

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