75% Ugandans have no access to power

Friday October 5 2012

By Flavia Nalubega

Only 15 per cent of Ugandans have access to power grid, hence majority of the population is either relying on renewable energy or wood fuel and kerosene.

According to a survey conducted by BareFoot Power, a solar energy provider, of the75 per cent who do not access hydro power, majority are in rural areas.

However, official figures indicate that in the rural areas, only about 2 per cent have access to electricity, out of which less than half is provided through the national grid, with the rest coming from household generators, car batteries or solar photovoltaic (PV) units.

“Access to power is still a big challenge. In 2003, only 5 per cent were connected to the national grid and in 2000, just 3 per cent had access to power, but, as of today, the figure has grown to 15 per cent. However this is still a small number since electricity is an essential service,” the BareFoot marketing manager, Mr Hamid Brahan said on Wednesday during an initiative to light up Cheptilyal village, in Kapchorwa District.

This partly explains why rural communities are tied up in poverty since the fuel used is more expensive than renewable solar energy.

“People in rural areas spend about Shs20,000 on kerosene each month, which amounts to over Shs240,000 every year. This is very expensive compared to someone who invests Shs65,000 in solar power being a one off payment,” Mr Joel Wetonyi the BareFoot Power sales representative in-charge of the Eastern region said.