Shs260b lost in two years  due to theft of electricity assets 

Police in Mbale parade people arrested in connection with theft of copper wires in the Mt Elgon area recently. PHOTO BY David Mafabi

What you need to know:

  • The vandalism, Ministry of Energy indicates, has been one of the causes of recent power outages with some segments of the distribution network destroyed while in other cases transformer oil has been  syphoned  or stolen. 

Government has in the last two years lost more than Shs260b due to vandalism of electricity infrastructure, according to Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa.

The vandalism, Ministry of Energy indicates, has been one of the causes of recent power outages with some segments of the distribution network destroyed while in other cases transformer oil has been siphoned or stolen. 

Speaking at the weekend, Ms Nankabirwa said most of the targeted assets included pylons, wire conductors, transmission infrastructure parts made of steel, aluminium, copper and transformers parts and underground cables. 

“It has also come to our realisation that vandalising electricity assets has a relationship with the unregulated scrap business in the country. Therefore, there is need to work with Uganda Manufacturer Association to ensure regulation of the scrap industry,” she said, noting that in September 2018 vandalism led to the collapse of five towers in Mbalala, Mukono District on the 132kV Owen falls - Lugogo transmission line, which caused a national blackout.

Other incidents, according to the Energy Ministry, include 29 towers, which were vandalised in Tororo District on the 132kV Tororo – Lira transmission line, theft of 156 metric tonnes of steel on the 220kV Bujagali - Tororo transmission line, theft of 9.5 kilometres of aluminum conductor (wire) on the 400kV Karuma – Kawanda transmission line, among others. 

Ms Nankabirwa also noted that Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited on average spends Shs600m per annum to repair vandalised towers on the existing lines across the country. 

During the last two years, according to the Ministry of Energy, more than Shs26b has been lost due to vandalism of the distribution networks with hot spots located in Kyotera, Masaka, Greater Mbarara and Hoima. 

However, the Energy ministry indicates that vandalism is currently more prevalent in the districts of Mukono, Kayunga, Buikwe, Jinja, Kamuli, Iganga, Mayuge, Bugiri, Busia, Tororo, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Oyam, Kole, Kyirwandongo, Nakasongola, Luwero, Mpigi, Masaka, Kyotera, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kiruhura, Kazo, Isingiro, Ntungamo, Kasese and Bulisa.

Ms Nankabirwa noted that Kampala and Wakiso are believed to provide one of the biggest markets for stolen electricity infrastructure assets with most of it sold to scrap dealers, smelters, some service providers in the energy sector, traders of electrical materials and metal welding workshops, among others. 

During September, outstanding private sector credit, increased to Shs18.44 trillion, which was an increase from Shs18.41 trillion in August due to higher credit extensions for shillings denominated credit. 

Shilling denominated credit stock increased by 0.4 percent thereby offsetting a 0.3 percent reduction in foreign currency denominated credit stock.

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According to Ms Nankabirwa, Kampala and Wakiso are believed to provide one of the biggest markets for stolen electricity infrastructure assets with most of it sold to scrap dealers, smelters, some service providers in the energy sector, traders of electrical materials and metal welding workshops, among others.

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