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Umeme receives 5,283 customer funded applications

An employee of Umeme carries out a pole connection for a customer.

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Julius Businge | The number of households opting for customer-funded connections to the national power grid is now at 5,283.

Power distributor Umeme said on Jan.29 that it received these applications between December 2020 and January 2021.

The government had earlier in December implored eligible applicants that can afford to pay for connections to do so privately after cabinet suspending the Free Electricity Connection Policy (ECP) due to budgetary constraints.

Peter Kaujju, the head of communications at Umeme said of the total applications received, 2,337 have so far been connected to the grid. 

“We have been able to connect people within a space of four working days even when the regulatory days range between 10 and 15,” Kaujju said. 

Many of the applications received are for no pole connection, which means they already have a pole within connection distance and do not require a pole.

Kampala west, Kampala central, Entebbe, Nakulabye, Nateete, Mpigi and Kabalagala recorded a total of 189 applications of which 181 did not require a pole.

The customer funded connections initiative was set up to enable those who can finance house connections to pay and get connected, especially those in real estate and to reduce energy losses stemming from illegal connections.

Under ECP, applicants paid Shs20, 000 – for the inspection of the wiring in their premises – to be connected to the grid.

With the suspension of ECP, the charge for a connection that does not need a pole is Shs720, 883 while a connection that requires a pole and bare cable costs Shs2, 387,472.

In case the connection requires the erection of a pole and the use of insulated cable, then one has to pay Shs2, 741,188.

Even with the customer-funded connections running, some homeowners are still applying for the ECP connections, with at least 1,998 having applied between November and January.

Starting from November 2018 when the government launched the donor funded ECP to 2020, Umeme made 248, 638 connections. 

Government spent $58.6million on the above connections though the Rural Electrification Agency, which oversees ECP, is yet to reimburse $25million, according to Umeme executives. 

 

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