15 arrested in Umeme operation
Posted Monday, January 14 2013 at 08:27
Power distribution company Umeme, backed by police and the army, last week launched an operation in Lira Municipality targeting illegal power users.
15 arrests were made and several bundles of wires and machines were confiscated.
The operation was in Obutowelo, Barogole, Jinja Camp, Kakooge, Central Park, Railways villages and Adekokwok suburbs. Simsim milling machines and phone charging boxes were confiscated among other things.
Mr Geoffrey Muhindo, the Umeme regional manager, said the operation code named ‘Operation Safety’ aimed at creating a safe environment for both power users and residents, adding that they had registered many deaths in Lira because of illegal power connection and use.
“Some of the illegal electricity users connect power to their premises through direct supply without meters and hooking from overhead cables which is deadly,” Mr Muhindo said.
Last year alone, three people in Lira were killed as a result of illegal connections. In 2010, another man was killed by electricity near Ave Maria School on Soroti Road,
In August 2011, a woman died in Obutowelo Village, Ojwina Division as she tried to hang her clothes on an energised wire connected illegally by the landlord, while another woman was killed when she stepped on a wire connected illegally by her husband to mill simsim.
“The whole reason for this operation is to save lives and property of the people,” Mr Muhindo said from Lira Central Police Station, where the suspects were being detained, adding that those arrested will be produced in court and charged with illegal power use.
The electricity supplier is said to be losing about 24 per cent of revenue to illegal power users annually.