The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa has said the government has to deal with vandalism of electricity equipment like the way it deals with terrorism because the vice is and has become rampant and that it has drastically affected power uptime.
Speaking to the media during a press conference held in Kampala, Nankabirwa said the cost of replacement of vandalised materials and gadgets is huge and unsustainable.
“In the last two years alone, the government has lost over $2 billion to the vandalism of electricity infrastructure. We have to deal with this vice the way we deal with terrorism. Vandalism continues to cost the sector billions of shillings. We have requested for the services of the UPDF to guard key electricity infrastructure such as transmission towers and substations,” said Nankabirwa.
Despite huge investments in the sector, the minister explained that Uganda continues to grapple with rampant cases of vandalism of power transmission and distribution infrastructure, calling upon the general public to be vigilant and report any cases of vandalism to the nearest authorities.
She stated that the public needs to be aware that interference with the electricity supply network causes power blackouts, threatens the security of our homes, increases the cost of doing business and electricity tariffs, and disrupts vital health and education services as well as our lifestyles
Earlier, while delivering a keynote address at the power forum held at Golden Tulip hotel in Kampala, the minister told the Nile Post that the government is committed to improving electricity generation, transmission and distribution to support industrialisation and ensure increased access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.
According to the minister ,the current electricity generation capacity has increased to 1,300MW but it is expected to exceed 2,000MW by June 2022 due to additional generation expected from Karuma (600 MW).
“We have a duty to sell affordable power to the Ugandan people and the government is working to reduce electricity tariffs across the board. There is a question of why we sell power to Tanzania and Kenya, yet we don’t have enough power. Instead of having this redundant power, especially which we don’t use past midnight, we decided to get some revenue from it by selling it to our neighbours,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Irene Bateebe said that the government’s goal is to provide universal access to electricity to Ugandans by 2030. So far, she said, the government has facilitated access to electricity for close to 300,000 households.