Power cuts hit Mbarara businesses

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William Bashaija of Daras Fresh milk suppliers seems to have no business going on as a result of power shortage . PHOTO BY COLLEB MUGUME 


Posted  Monday, December 16  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

The grid line being rehabilitated had never been worked on since 1963.



Businesses in Mbarara are counting losses following prolonged loadshedding that has crippled businesses.
Since June, there have been routine total power blackouts every Friday through to Sunday leaving businesses that rely entirely on power supplied by power distributor Umeme l to survive on generators or operate only when there is no loadshedding.

Johnson Mugarura, a milk dealer, says that due to power inconsistency, most of his customers have left him simply because uncooled milk affects its quality.
He has reduced the quantity of milk he has been stocking. This does not only reduce his revenue but also leaves his customers unsatisfied.

Making no business sense
“When there is no power, it’s useless for me to be here. I had bought a generator but I later realised that I was spending more on it than I could possibly get. So I stopped using it. Power comes back at night, we leave the little milk we have to cool overnight and sell it the following morning,” he says.
Umeme spokesperson Henry Rugamba said several billions of shillings have been invested into the rehabilitation of the grid line that had never been worked on since 1963 and had been derailing service delivery in term of low voltage supply.

“After the nine months, users can expect improved electricity supply, stability and consistency. We can’t rule the fact of shortages out because the demand and connection is increasing yet the electricity supply is still insufficient,” Mr Rugamba said.