Umeme wants jail for power thieves
Posted Wednesday, February 27 2013 at 02:00
Petition. The power distributor wants MPs to urgently pass a legislation that will ensure heavier punishment for power thieves.
Electricity distribution firm, Umeme, has petitioned Parliament to expeditiously handle the power theft Bill to help reduce losses.
The Managing Director, Mr Charles Chapman, said Umeme annually loses $30 million (about Shs78 billion) due to power thefts.
Mr Chapman, who was on Monday addressing Umeme shareholders in Jinja, said power thieves should go to jail.
“We experience transformer break-downs due to illegal power connections yet the equipment is very expensive to purchase,” he said.
Mr Chapman added that those behind the damage have always gone scot-free. Currently, stealing power is treated as any other case of theft and convicts are fined.
However, Mr Chapman said: “So we request that jail should be set as one of the punishments for the culprits once the law makers resume discussions on the (power) Bill.”
Mr Chapman said Umeme does not tolerate corruption among it’s officials and those who have been found culpable are sacked.
“Because we do not tolerate corruption, almost every month we dismiss some workers found involved in these [power] scandals.”
He said in 2009, corruption levels in Umeme stood at 35 per cent, but that has reduced to 12 per cent today.
Power conduits and transformer oil have been stolen in various areas in eastern region. The most hit areas include Kamuli, Jinja, Iganga and Bugiri. As result many of these areas run without electricity for long periods before they are replaced.