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Nankabirwa Cautions Residents on illegal Power Connection Fees

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa has cautioned Ugandans against paying illegal fees for power extension in their villages. About 57.2 % of people in urban areas and 10% in rural areas have access to electricity in Uganda. 

As a result, several people, especially in rural areas, have resorted to brokers to extend power in their communities. In Bukeeka Parish, Katikamu sub-county located in Luwero district residents resorted to mobilizing 700,000 shillings per household to extend power lines to their villages and homes.

Livingstone Luzinda a resident of Kande Village says that as a village they tried to apply for power extension through the Rural Electricity Agency but this failed. Luzinda adds that someone from UMEME approached them with a proposal that they pay 22 million shillings which local leadership divided among all households and came up with 700,000 shillings as a contribution by each to extend power line in the village.

However, the costs were high and they petitioned Deputy Secretary General Rosemary Namayanja, born in the village, for help.

On Sunday, Rosemary Namayanja the Deputy Secretary General invited the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Dr.Ruth Nankabirwa to Kande village to explain the costs which she said were high to local people. Namayanja also asked Minister Nankabirwa to ensure that the entire parish gets free access to power since they are near Wobulenzi town which is already covered.

Minister Nankabirwa explained to the residents that the costs asked for were illegal because power extension to villages is the role of the central government. Nankabirwa said the only acceptable costs are for wiring homes by certified wiremen after the power lines have been extended to the villages.

Nankabirwa explained that currently, Uganda generates 2041 megawatts of electricity of which about 900 megawatts are not used because the government lacks funds to extend lines to all communities that require it. Nankabirwa adds that as a result, the government has acquired another grant to extend power to one million people through the Electricity Access Scale-Up Programme.

Nankabirwa ordered that Bukeeka parish be considered under the same program and the households acquire power at no cost.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, as of 2022, about 20% of the Ugandan population had access to electricity from the national grid, while a further 10% received electricity from solar home systems capable of providing a basic package of energy service.

Another 20% benefitted from limited access through smaller solar lighting devices such as solar lanterns. Around 95% of households rely on either wood or charcoal as their primary energy source for cooking, creating both social and environmental concerns

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