Shs18b to connect 15,000 households to national grid

Thursday September 5 2019

Connecting 15,000 households. A sample of the

Connecting 15,000 households. A sample of the Ready Board that will be used to connect about 15,000 households on the national grid. COURTESY PHOTO 

By Christine Kasemiire

At least 15,000 households are expected to get connected to the national grid supported by a World Bank grant of $5m (Shs18b).

The grant seeks to provide households that cannot afford to internally wire their premises, with ready wired boards through which they can be connected to the national grid.

Ready boards (usually wooden and sometimes metallic) are fixed with sockets, bulb holders and switches on a single panel.

The project, which will be implemented by power distributor – Umeme – targets to reach 15,000 households in the areas of Banda, Kireka, Wandegeya, Kitintale, Nankulabye and Bwaise.

“The [World Bank] has given us up to September 30 to have connected all the 15,000,” Mr Thomas Oryang, the Umeme electricity connections policy manager, said in an interview, noting that besides failure to internally wire their premises, Umeme, will also be considering the number of rooms in a house to qualify for the project. Only one-roomed or two-roomed structures, he said, will be considered.

Beyond this, the project will also cover areas that are vulnerable to power accidents. Other factors to be considered will include the distance of a household from the pole, to ensure that such a households does not require an extra pole and if they do is shall not be more than one pole.

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Uganda is seeking to increase the number of new connections to the national grid to about 300,000 customers annually.

According to the World Bank Uganda Energy Access Scale-up Project April 2019 document, some of the factors that hinder electricity access are the nature and size of concession.

The other factors are incentives available, service connection charges as well as internal wiring costs. Though the document does not state the cost, in Uganda, it costs on average Shs350,000 to wire a house.

To address the challenge of internal wiring, the government decided to provide each of the targeted households with a ready board.

Through ECP, the government wants 300,000 premises connected annually to cleaner sources of energy.

At least 60,000 of the 300, 000 will be provided with ready boards, starting with the 15,000 that Umeme will connect within this month.

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