the Umeme Managing Director, Selestino Babungi, says that they are distressed with over a quarter-million applicants whom they can’t connect because the Government has not honoured its obligation of providing the vital fund.
Power distribution, Umeme LTD is
stuck with over 250,000 applicants seeking free connection to the national electricity grid across the country.
In 2018, Government launched the Electricity Connection Policy – EPC with the aim of connecting
300,000 power consumers annually following complaints of high connection fees by prospective
Under the policy, customers are required to pay 20,000
Shillings to power distributors while the government would top up the remaining fees. The move
was anticipated to improve access to power, which was being marred by exorbitant connection fees ranging from between Shillings 100,000 to 2 million.
Now, the Umeme Managing Director, Selestino
Babungi, says that they
are distressed with over a quarter-million applicants whom they can’t connect because
the Government has not honoured
its obligation of providing the vital fund.
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Babungi told URN in an interview that through the
Rural Electrification Agency they have procured connection materials to connect
only 87,000 customers against the 250,000 pending applications.
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In 2020, Umeme suspended the implementation of
the free connection project after accumulating unprecedented Shillings 88.9 billion in unpaid arrears by the Government for 105,412 connections out of
244,307 target, which was valued at Shillings
Despite this slowdown, in March this
year, the Government
announced plans to
resume the free connection project estimated to cost Shillings 2.6 trillion to be jointly financed by the Government and donors.
In Gulu City, 13,000 people are connected to the national power grid.
However, the demand for power connections remains high among
residents and industrialists to aid the socio-economic transformation. Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu
City Mayor says only 21 per cent of the 128 villages are currently
connected to the national grid.
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The Resident City Commissioner, Denis Odongpiny,
says several residents within the outskirts of the City are petitioning his
office for power connections citing insecurity.
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According to the Rural Electrification Agency -
REA, one of the implementing agencies for the free electricity connection
program, it procured over 87,500 connection materials under the African
Development Bank aid. This adds to the 2,598 connection materials already
procured under the Islamic Development Bank funding to ensure countrywide
In Financial Year 2020/21, the Government allocated Shillings 14.2 billion to the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited
- UEDCL to partly pay for already made connections and commence new connections
by March 2021.
According to the Electricity Regulatory Authority
– ERA, Uganda’s electricity sub-Sector has grown from Three (3) Generation
Plants in 2001 to over 40 Plants. The total installed
generation capacity has grown from 60 MW in 1954, 400 MW in
2000 to 1237.49 MW as of October 2020 and this capacity is expected to rise to
1837.49 MW by end of 2021.