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Masaka residents protest over blackouts

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Umeme workers at a power station. Residents in Masaka accuse Umeme of inefficiency after failing to replace a damaged transformer.

Umeme workers at a power station. Residents in Masaka accuse Umeme of inefficiency after failing to replace a damaged transformer. PHOTO BY Abubakar Lubowa.  

By Issa Aliga

Posted  Tuesday, March 4  2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Residents say the area has been without power for more than two weeks.

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Residents of Kinoni Town along the Masaka-Mbarara Highway have protested over Umeme’s failure to replace a damaged transformer.

They accuse the company of being inefficient in its operations, which has kept the town’s central zone off power supply more than two weeks. This has affected a number of businesses, including milk vendors, welders and salon operators, among others.

However, the Masaka region Umeme manager, Mr Duncan Mwesigwa, said they were aware of the matter and were working on finding a replacement. “We are working on replacing that transformer and it will be up and running today [Tuesday], however, residents must stop illegal power connections that cause overloading thus the breakdon of facilities,” he said.

Umeme has severally been accused of inefficiency as power blackouts in certain areas go for almost a week without being sorted. However, the power distributor blames illegal users for over- load the grid, which results into breakdowns and damages.

Uganda has more than 500,000 lines connected on the national grid compared to a population of more than 34 million people. According to experts, the low connectivity leaves much of the population without access to electricity.

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