NAKAPIRIPIRIT – The Government has commissioned the rural electrification project and handed over connection materials to deliver reliable, affordable, and electricity energy for the Karamoja sub-region.
This comes barely three months after Cabinet approved an interim measure to temporarily suspend implementation of Electricity Connection Policy [ECP] with effect from 7 December 2020 in order to allow consumers that were willing to pay for their connections.
The minister of energy and mineral development Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu 12 March while handing over materials for connection at Nakapiripirit to Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited [UEDCL] said the commissioning marks the resumption of electricity connection policy countrywide and commissioning of the Islamic Development Bank-funded projects in Karamoja sub-region.
“I am glad to report that Gov’t continues to prioritize the energy sector, as indicated in the 2021-2026 manifesto. The ministry of energy hopes to enable Gov’t to increase electricity access through the provision of cleaner energy for all Ugandans with a goal of achieving 60% rural electrification access by 2027,” said Dr. Kitutu.
“I wish to therefore declare this project officially commissioned and the ECP policy resumed and anyone may visit their service providers for connections,” Dr. Kitutu added.
She revealed that the high number of connections required a corresponding high budget provision from the government which became a challenge especially after the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic due to many competing demands for resources, “And the backlog of electricity connections due to funds constrains stood at about 200-500 completed applications as of 7 December 2020.
She added that besides backlog, the new electricity connection applications, the government was in arrears for connections made by the service providers totaling UGX 103.408 billion.
She noted that the launch of resumption of ECP will also, pave way for subsidized electricity connection to customers within one pole services and the policy has been revised to accommodate those who are able and willing to pay to do so in cases where the government does not have resources.
She explained that the commissioning and connection materials handed over are geared towards servicing key service centers in Karamoja sub-region including education, Trade, Health, agriculture, and domestic loads across the sub-region.
She said the ministry has mandated the Rural Electrification Agency [REA] to implement the ECP and that the obligation of government t through REA under ECP is to meet the cost of the no-pole and one pole connections while consumers pay inspection fees of Shs 20,000 to service providers to facilitate inspection of house wiring to ensure it is well done.
She explained further that the Islamic Development Bank fund has been able to support the government of Uganda in achieving over 9300 Km of electricity network countrywide; of which over 1015Km cover Karamoja sub-region at a cost of USD 17,000,000.
She said the projects in the Karamoja sub-region cover 709.4Km of medium voltage, 159.03Km of low voltage network and 104Km distribution transformers and 2,412 electricity metres with connection cables for last-mile connections in 9 Educational institutions, 9 health facilities, 27 trading centre, 3 markets, 7 law enforcement facilities for army, police and prisons, 6 sub-county headquarters, 3 resettlement camps, one water pump, one hostel and one national park.
According to Mr. John Nangiro, the LCV chairperson for Nakapiripirit the program will cover the districts of the Karamoja region namely: Moroto, Abim, Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Kaabong, Nabilatuk, Karenga, Napak and Amudat.
Mr. Nangiro said electricity was a fundamental need for Karamoja and that one cannot benefit from other modern improvements to the standard of living without access to electricity.