Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Power service providers Umeme have recorded a sharp decline in illegal connections in the districts of Sironko, Manafwa, Mbale, Bulambuli, Bududa and Namisindwa in the Bugisu sub region.
This was revealed by Florence Nsubuga, the National Chief Operations Officer Umeme Limited, at the launch of Sironko, Bulambuli Umeme service center at the weekend. The new Service Centre located on Plot 1, Buwalasi View Road in Sironko district will serve the residents of Sironko, Mafudu, Kaduwa, Konta, Buwalasi, Budadiri, Buyaga, Muyembe, Simu, Nabongo, Kaamu, Buginyanya, Kaserem, Sipi and surrounding areas.
Umeme says they were losing up to sh50 billion annually in Bugisu region alone due to vandalizing of wires, poles, transformers and power lost due to the illegal connection by locals. The losses now stand at sh19 billion.
‘Previously, annually, we were losing over 40 transformers with the energy losses at 57 percent and very many safety related cases. All this has changed, according to Florence Nsubuga. She says that the area now records power losses of about 40.5 percent, a decline of more than 17 percent.
Sironko Resident District Commissioner Isaac Kulaba Wangwe attributed the success to a crackdown undertaken by Umeme with the help of police at the beginning of the year and the continued sensitization about the dangers of illegal connections.
Umeme Mbale Area Manager Paulo Sempila says that Umeme now connected an additional 1.2 million customers from the area compared to only 5,000 that were in Umeme records in previous years. He adds that they have doubled the number of transformers in Bugisu sub region in order to ensure that power connections are spread throughout the region.
Florence Nambozo Mayonga the woman MP representing Sironko district in parliament also urged residents to take advantage of the new office to ensure that the area gets the best services from Umeme. She also urged Umeme offices to maintain the crackdown against illegal power users in order to bring down power theft cases to 0 percent and curtail electrocutions which are common in the area.