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Kadaga summons Energy Minister on suspension of free electricity connections

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday directed the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development to present a statement regarding the development of halting free electricity connections across the country.

Kadaga demanded that the Minister Mary Kitutu appears before the House in the next two weeks with an explanation.

Her directive followed a matter of national importance raised by Ruhinda North MP Thomas Tayebwa who said that service providers in the electricity industry had stopped the policy. He said that UMEME had recently made a press announcement saying that it had stopped the free connectivity policy.

“A Ugandan in rural areas was required to only pay 20,000 Shillings for inspecting the house and then the electricity companies would come and connect from the pole for free. Earlier on, it had been consisting around 650,000 Shillings to do that connection,” he said in part.

Tayebwa said that there are lines that had been already commissioned by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and handed over to the electricity companies and that people were told to borrow money in order to have their houses wired.

Kadaga ruled that the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development presents a statement before parliament in a fortnight time to explain the halt of free electricity connections.

She said that the program had been embraced by several Ugandans and that the new development would have an impact on people’s lives.

Last month, UMEME suspended the free power connections under the government aided Electricity Connection Policy (ECP) which was launched in 2018 with the objective of subsidizing last mile electricity connection to customers.

The 10 year policy had a target of connecting 300,000 people annually. Under the Electricity Connection Policy (ECP), Ugandans were required to pay only 20,000 Shillings for inspection while government clears all other fees to the power distributors.

However, UMEME has halted the policy attributing the move to realignment of policies and financial resources by government partly occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to UMEME, 245,310 customers had been connected to the grid since 2018.



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