Monday, September 2, 2013

Commercial Users of Energy in Uganda – Hotels, Shopping Centers and Transport

Categories under this group are many, but we will restrict ourselves to hotels or leisure centers, shopping centers, airports, transport for people and goods.

Many other small commercial activities may be deemed to depend on energy to a limited extent. In such instances, we think these could be skipped in this discussion. Examples of these are markets, where much of the local farm produce is sold. These mostly operate during the day, requiring no lighting, and largely open in early mornings to receive merchandise from farms or gardens in bulk, display it for customers to procure through the day. At the end of the day, surplus goods that are still in good condition for purchase the following day are covered overnight.

Those which extend their services beyond sunset do use lighting, which is electric in bigger urban centers, or use paraffin lamps in limited instances. Much of the transport in use is small pickup trucks, although some foods are transported over long distances on larger trucks.

These fall in various categories, from classified ones on the upper end, of star ranking from one to five. Others are below such ranking, although commonly referred to as hotels.

High ranking hotels
These are across the country, with the bulk of them in upper level urban areas as Kampala City, the capital, Entebbe where the international airport is located and major towns as Jinja, Mbarara, Mbale and Masaka.

3 – 5 star hotels
These have most of the facilities such as conference halls, swimming pools, health centers, kitchens, cold storage, air conditioning, standby power generation facilities, as well as other services beside the conventional guest accommodation in terms of rooms and suites.
Kampala Serena Hotel


Machines in Health Club – Kampala Serena Hotel

Source: Valuation Report by Dunn, Kampala Serena Hotel and International Conference Centre, Dec 200

International Conference Centre – Kampala Serena Hotel

Source:Valuation Report by Dunn, Kampala Serena Hotel and International Conference Centre, Dec 2007

Swimming Pool - Kampala Serena Hotel

Source: Valuation Report by Dunn, Kampala Serena Hotel and International Conference Centre, Dec 2007

Energy sources include, grid electricity, standby generators, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and diesel.

Electricity is extensively used for air conditioning, lighting and operating an assortment of equipment and lifts where available. Whenever there are any power cuts, generators are often turned on automatically, to minimize interruption.

As for cooking, LPG is increasingly used in kitchens, alongside other equipment that are electrically operated.

Petroleum fuels are variously used for vehicles, water heaters or boilers at times, and, running standby thermal generators.

Smaller hotels

Smaller hotels tend to have fewer services while at the same time depend more on biomass as their source of energy. This largely applies to cooking, where improved stoves are more frequent, and water heating in particular. Electricity is more applicable to refrigerators, lighting and sometimes ironing.

The term hotels in this country is sometimes used out of context, especially for eating houses in many places, especially more so in the rural context. Paraffin is used for lanterns when lighting is required, especially in lodging facilities and dining rooms that tend to close early in evenings, unlike their counterpart larger hotels. 

Churchhill Courts Hotel – Uganda

Leisure centers
These are gradually picking up in numbers, often with motorized equipment, hence use grid electricity  .

Shopping centers
Many malls and shops depend on grid electricity to meet their power needs – largely display and roof lighting, refrigerated displays and cold rooms. In only a few instances do we find shopping malls using standby generators when grid power is unavailable.

Freedom City Shopping Mall – Kampala

The airports largely use grid electricity for most of their needs. These are various, from special equipment and appliances, through air conditioning, conveyor systems, lifts and others. They also provide standby generators in case grid electricity is off.

The rural aerodromes are much simpler, with limited need for lighting, often having flights land and take off during the day.

Entebbe International Airport

This will be broken down into land, water and air. We will also briefly discuss this under passengers and goods.

  • Land: Under land, most land transport is road based in terms of goods and human transport. Being landlocked, much of our import cargo comes into the country by road, given that our old diesel-engine powered rail transport has been literally out of use for years. Public transport is poorly developed, with most commuters travelling in 14-seater vans largely powered by gasoline, while longer trips feature a sizeable bus fleet powered by diesel. Because public transport is poor and largely unscheduled, many individuals use personal cars, a tendency that breeds great inefficiency from several angles – congestion, a small average number of passengers per vehicle, excessive fuel use and pollution and the like.There are plans to revamp rail transport, and also extend rail services to reach Rwanda, beside widening the network in the country.
    Heavy goods  transport in Uganda

  • Water: This mode of transport is dominated by traditionally made canoes, largely used by fishermen, but also used for passenger and goods movement on our lakes. While many of these are manually rowed, an increasing number is acquiring outboard gasoline engines.Government has also a number of large cargo ships especially on Lake Nalubaale, with some ferries moving between strategic link points in order to provide the public at large with viable modes of transport.Some individuals own leisure bouts, mostly on Lake Nalubaale, largely based at Entebbe. 
    Fishing canoes on Lake Nalubaale in Uganda

  • Air: This mode is largely dominated by smaller aircraft shuttling both in the country and region. There are also bigger carriers especially on international routes which use Entebbe International Airport. There are a number of internal airdromes, largely unpaved, in Arua, Kisoro and other parts of the country.
    Small cargo aircraft in Uganda

  • Small goods transport: While small pickups / vans and lorries / trucks are employed in movement of goods, there is an army of motorcycle compliment for generally smaller goods packages, radiating, from deep in the countryside to urban areas. These are in no small measure supplemented by bicycles, and to a lesser extent carts drawn by people or animals.
    A typical small van for goods in Africa

  • Small-time passenger transport: Very much like smaller goods transport, motorcycles and bicycles, commonly termed ‘boda-boda’ have done a great job meeting the needs, especially in the rural areas. While these often prove to be  a traffic nuisance especially in the city, leading to many accidents, injuries and sometimes death, it cannot be overstated that they have filled a huge gap in transport for the poor, especially in the countryside. The public transport is dominated by 14-seater vans, see picture below:
    Old taxi park – Kampala

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