By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
Umeme has earmarked USD $3 million (Shs11 billion) for power reliability projects in Lugazi, Jinja, Iganga and Kamuli districts.
It will replace rotten poles and string cables on the Lugazi Town, Jinja–Kamuli and the Iganga–Kibimba power distribution lines. The company says it is prioritising such projects across Uganda to catalyse economic growth.
“We are injecting in $3 million (Sh11 billion) to address the power supply challenges of the line from Jinja, all the way to Kamuli and solve power supply challenges from Iganga to Busitema,” Selestino Babungi, the managing director, said during an engagement between Umeme and security and political leaders on June 21st in Iganga District.
“Once we do those works, power will be more reliable. It is our desire that you get reliable service from Umeme.”
Robert Mubiru, Umeme’s Programme Execution Manager, said works would begin in July and run until November.
He said during implementation, there might be a few planned outages to enable the contractor to carry on with work without risk of accidents.
Kamuli RDC Rose Birungi said just like security, electricity is a prerequisite for development.
She said much as there could be a few inconveniences during implementation of the project, they are certain service would improve once the works is completed.
The Bugiri Resident District Commissioner, Akamandhan Walugembe, said when there is constant power, the youth – who constitute up to 80 per cent of Uganda’s population – would engage in productive activities such as welding and milling.
“Therefore, it is imperative upon us to make sure power supply is constant,” Walugembe said.
Babungi said they need support of the security agencies to reduce vandalism of electricity infrastructure.
If vandalism is not checked, he said, it would contribute to power outages and the vandals would endanger the lives of many people.
“Due to vandalism, which leaves us with no choice but to replace vandalised infrastructure, which impacts on the pricing of electricity by increasing the cost of our operations,” he said.
Now that Uganda’s power generation capacity exceeds demand, attention is being redirected to providing stable power and increasing the consumption of the same.
To that end, the power distribution utilities are increasingly investing in underground cables and connecting even more applicants to the electricity grids respectively.