LUUKA. The Government of Uganda has secured $100m (about sh360b) funding from the African Development Bank to switch on some of the long-pending new electricity connection applicants under the Umeme footprint.
Up to 87,500 no-pole of the 250,000 applicants, dating back to 2019 will benefit from the funding commissioned in Waibuga sub county in Luuka District on Tuesday.
Ruth Nankabirwa, the Energy and Mineral Development Minister, said the Government is committed to ensuring that Ugandans have access to clean and safe energy.
“The Government is intensifying evacuation programmes for the electricity generation and distribution to Ugandans,” she said.
The Minister cautioned the residents to desist from illegal connections and vandalism of the electricity network, which have led to death, destruction of property.
Blessing Nshaho, Umeme’s Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer, who represented Selestino Babungi, the Managing Director, disclosed that the leading utility has so far completed the connection of the 22,371 consumers of the 87,500 applicants.
“We expect to complete the pending connections by the end of this year. Under Luuka District, we have so far received 500 applications from customers who are eligible to be connected under the AfDB funding, with a target of 825 connections and a target of 2,032 connections for the Greater Iganga Area,” Nshaho said.
Nshaho also urged the local leaders to sensitize the communities that they are the owners of the electricity network and by vandalizing it, unreliable power supply is a result and socio-economic transformation of the community is hampered.
The African Development Bank Country Manager Mr. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said the project will directly contribute to realizing at least 164,077 household connections out of which 87,500 customers, funded by the EU- Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, who will be installed within the Umeme footprint countrywide.
He said the African Development Bank Group is involved in the whole value chain of the Uganda Electricity Supply Industry from generation, transmission, and distribution.
The interventions are funded through both the public and private sector financing windows. The Bank has provided more than USD 666 million to the energy sector through public and private sector financing.
“In particular to today’s event, I would like to mention that the Bank approved, in September 2015, the Uganda Rural Electricity Access Project for an amount of USD 100 million and also mobilizing additional EURO 11.205 million from the European Union Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. The last mile connection that we are launching today is one of the project components,” Ngafuan said.
This new last-mile connections exercise only applies to those who have wired their homes, and have passed inspection and only require a no-pole connection.
The Government of Uganda in 2018 established the Electricity Connection Policy (ECP) for a period of ten years (2018-2027) with the objective of increasing electricity access and providing cleaner energy to Ugandans.
The policy aims at addressing one of the major obstacles that have hindered increasing electricity access through subsidization of the last mile connection costs. The programme aims to drive the electrification rate to 60% by 2027.
The Government of Uganda, through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) – now the Electricity Agency Program funds the programme, while Umeme Limited serves as one of the implementing partners.
Umeme started ECP connections on 1st November 2018, and since the inception of ECP, Umeme has connected over 270,000 customers and continues to receive new connection applications daily. The number of customers waiting for Government-funded connections are now over 220,000 as of today.