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Umeme arrests over 20 in crackdown on power theft in Pallisa

Some of the Pallisa residents arrested over illegal connections on the police truck. URN photo

Pallisa, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Over 20 residents of Pallisa district have been arrested in an operation carried out against power theft and illegal connections in the Bukedi and Elgon sub region.

The suspects are being held at Pallisa central police station as they await prosecution in court.

The operation by Umeme and assisted by police, started on Wednesday in Pallisa during the launch of the operation “Kombowa” in the Mbale region. The crackdown targeted markets, residences, shops, and rented units.

John Wamanya, the Umeme metering services manager in charge of Kampala, East and North region said the crackdown was intended to curb illegal power connections and thefts which have caused huge financial losses to the company but also to ensure that the customers are safe.

He says that Mbale sub region contributes 35% loss of the energy dispensed to the region to power theft which is equivalent to 2.8 million units, which translates to over 1.2 billion lost in power theft.

Wamanya said that electricity theft is an economic crime under the laws of Uganda and the grid code, arguing that if people are allowed to connect on a network illegally, the country loses greatly. He says the operation will crackdown all illegal power users across the region.

Peter Kauju, the Manager Cooperate Communications at Umeme said that the continued theft of power in the country does not only cost government money but also costs lives of people through electrocution. He said that Umeme has made access of power very simple to reduce on the illegal connections and the associated dangers.

Ashraf Soyiko Chemonges, the Police Commandant of the Alerts Squad and the Liaison officer of the ‘kombowa’ operation said that they are determined to arrest all people dealing in illegal connection of power.

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