KAMPALA - Uganda suffered a rare nationwide electricity blackout for several hours on Friday, its state-run power grid operator said, adding that electricity was gradually being restored late in the afternoon.

The grid shutdown happened during the testing a newly completed, Chinese-built $1.5 billion 600 megawatt hydropower plant on the Nile river in the country's north, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) said in a post on X platform.

"Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited informs the general public that a national blackout has been registered following a load rejection test at the Karuma hydro power plant," the company posted on X on Friday.

In another post about two hours later, it said the grid had been restored partially.

Uganda has an installed power generation capacity of 2,000 MW, according to the energy ministry. It generates more power than it consumes and has been exploring the possibility of exporting the surplus to neighbours like South Sudan and Kenya.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing George Obulutsa, William Maclean)