Govt in bid to connect 235,000 households to national grid 

Monday August 16 2021
tech02pix

Connection. An Umeme technician inspects a new power line in Kampala. Government is sourcing for material to connect at least 234,989 electricity applicants through the free electricity connection policy. PHOTO | FILE

By Paul Murungi

Government is sourcing for material to connect at least 234,989 electricity applicants through the free electricity connection policy. 

In a press statement released at the weekend Energy and Mineral Development minister Ruth Nankabirwa, said the exercise which is currently ongoing, will be conclude before the end of the month. 

“Procurement of 234,989 no-pole connection material is ongoing and these materials are expected in [this month] August,” she said, adding: “This is, therefore, to confirm government’s commitment to increase access to clean energy in line with the National Development Plan III.”

While the statement did not indicate how much government would spend on the material, going by the cost recovery price for each no-pole connection, the 234,989 connections should translate to at least Shs169.3b .

Once assembled, the cables and metres will be used to clear the backlog of about 160,000 pending applications that resulted from government’s suspension of the free electricity connection policy in October last year due to financial challenges.

However, the programme resumed in March after the African Development agreed to advance government money for the project.

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Commenting on the matter, Mr Selestino Babungi, the Umeme managing director, said they will attend to the applications on first in, first out basis. 

“The target is to have cleared at least 87,500 by October,” he said, noting that Umeme was building capacity to connect at least 1,000 households per day.

A number of applicants, he said, had also opted to push for self-funded connections, which he attributed to a three-day turnaround connection time.

At least, he said, 40,000 households had applied for self-funded connections in the last few months. 

In her statement, Ms Nankabirwa said that whereas government had provided resources for the free connection policy, households with the ability to pay for their connections were free to push through their applications. 

Highlights  

• November 2018 – government launches free electricity connections.                                        

• 300,000 – projected number of premises to connect annually.                                                

• October 2020 – government suspends free connections.                                           

• March 2021 – relaunched

• 299,843 – ECP connections made to date                                                             

• Shs200b – money needed annually to implement free electricity connections


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