The Government of Uganda through Rural Electrification Agency (ERA) is set to connect at least 22,000 households with electricity following the commissioning of the rural electricity program last week.
Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Ms Margaret Komuhangi, the district Woman MP, said that ERA has ontracted Mohan Energy Corporation Private Ltd and EMC Ltd to distribute 271kms of medium voltage line and 142kms of low voltage power line through eight sub-counties.
Major breakthrough for communities
African Development Bank will be funding the 413 km power line for US $4m. The project also targets 297 public institutions and according to local district officers the move will awake the sleepy sub-counties which have not been connected to the national grid for a long time.
“This is a major breakthrough for communities which have never been connected to the national grid. The lobbying process has taken seven years to yield fruits, now our people will be connected. The residents have been depending on generators to power most of their gadgets, including salons, refrigeration, among others, which is very expensive,” said Ms Komuhangi.
She also pointed out that the power lines will pass through landing sites because majority of citizens draw their livelihood from Lake Kyoga. The 8 sub-stations include Lwampanga, Lwabyata, Nabiswera, Nakitoma, Kalungi, Kalongo, Lwampanga Town Council and Kazwama.
“Owning up the electricity project will help us identify any individuals involved in vandalising the power lines,” Warned the Nakasongola County MP, Mr Noah Mutebi Wanzala.
Uganda’s electricity status
Uganda currently has about 20% of the population connected to electricity, one of the lowest figures globally. The number drops to an estimated 7% in rural areas. Out of the 10 sub-counties in the district, only two are connected to the national power grid.
To address this challenge, government has invested heavily in the distribution lines in the last few years, but the investments in the distribution infrastructure have so far not resulted in a significant uptake in electricity connections, especially among poor households.
Early last year, government announced that it had acquired a US $200m loan from China to extend power to all sub counties across Uganda. The project is expected to cover 547 sub-counties focusing on trade and health centres, schools and economic zones. The move seeks to increase power accessibility from 22% to at least 60% in the next 10 years.