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Government starts free power connections in rural areas

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By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Posted  Thursday, July 24   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Objective. Move intended for universal electrification by the year 2040.

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Kampala.

In an effort to extend electricity across the country, particularly in the villages, the government will pick up bills incurred in connecting rural households with power, Energy and Mineral Development minister Irene Muloni has said.
The development was confirmed in a press statement issued by the Ministry of Energy on Monday.
“All households near the power lines (within 15 metres range) are being connected for free,” Minister Muloni was quoted in the statement.
She continued: “We only request the owners to contact certified electricians to wire their premises and inform any power distribution company near them. Their premises will be connected for free.”
The statement quoted the minister speaking at a recent workshop organised by the United Nations Foundation in partnership with the World Wide-Fund for Nature Uganda, held in Kampala.
In her keynote address, she said: “We are moving towards Universal Energy Access in Uganda. And with this exercise (free power connections) we are targeting 1.28 million new service connections in the short and medium term.
“To increase the number of connections, we are implementing the output based aid programme which provides a subsidy to enable electricity connections in the rural areas.”
She continued: “This has been introduced because while some people may be able to pay electricity consumption, many are unable to connect due to inability to pay the connection fees.”
The Rural Electrification Agency is also continuing implementing the free power connections programme through its Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) output based aid programme.
The World Bank, the German Development Bank, KfW, and the Norwegian government have provided US$ 60 million to support free connections, according to the ministry’s data.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, according to Ms Muloni, is implementing the rural electrification strategy and plan on “a model of scaled, multi-technology electricity service territories comprising the entire rural territory in the country.”
“The overall objective of the Rural Electrification Strategy Plan is to position the electrification programme on a path that will progressively advance towards achievement of universal electrification by the year 2040,” she said.

Access to power
Uganda’s access to electricity stands at about 15 per cent. This is an impediment to the achievement of ‘Vision 2040’ which is “a transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years.”

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com