By Ambrose Gahene
Residents of Kitimba and Mpanga in Butambala were in a joyous mood as electricity distributor Umeme switched on lines co-funded by the Government of Uganda and KFW this week. They say their future is brighter owing to the benefits of electricity with their eyes focused on commercial activity.
Mathew Kakooza, a resident of Kitimba couldn’t hide his excitement at the new prospects of electricity in his village.
“Our people are now able to engage in commercial activities to boost their income due to opportunities such as milling machines, popcorns and welding amongst others. Our children are now able to revise and read their books in the night and the schools will also be able to study evening lessons comfortably,” he said.
Speaking during an engagement with the community in Mpanga earlier today, Umeme’s Projects Investment Manager Eng. Samuel Magezi said electricity connectivity projects in Mpanga and Kitimba were co-financed by GOU through Umeme at the total budget of UGX 680m
“We have so far connected 60 percent of the 1450 targeted households in the communities of Mpanga and Butambala. This he says is in line with the government’s plans to achieve 60% electricity connectivity by 2040,” he said.
Area Member of Parliament for Butambala District Aisha Kabanda while speaking during the engagement with the communities urged the community to use the electricity to transform their lives.
“I would like to caution the residents against illegal connections and protect the investment that the government has brought to them.” She said, adding that the community will now be able to add value to their produce and also go into mass production commercial ventures to support them
Umeme’s Head of Communications Peter Kaujju said Government contributed Ugx 7 million euros but also through the Rural Electrification Board of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development received financing to the tune of 7 million Euros from the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW towards the cost of grid densification program in Uganda.
The funding was meant to enhance grid densification through power extensions. Grid densification is the enhancement of the medium and low voltage networks to enable connection of more customers. This involves short-medium voltage and Low voltage extensions, transformer injections, and the associated last mile connections.
The objective of the program was to electrify rural and peri-urban households, small businesses, and social institutions within Umeme service area.
Magezi explains that grid densification is expected to add to the national grid 200 KM of medium voltage lines, 250 distribution transformers, and over 600 km of low voltage lines serving 14,000 household connections.
Rural Electrification Agency programme now under the Ministry of Energy is responsible for the implementation of this program contracted Umeme Ltd to implement KfW directly funded projects while Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) approved the projects under the co-financing component also for implementation by Umeme ltd.
The scope for KFW directly funded components were 97 projects while for Umeme co-funded components were 88 projects spread all over the country under the Umeme service area.
The power line construction works for both components commenced in November 2020 and are scheduled to be complete by December 2021.
A recent Household survey by Uganda National Bureau of Statistics pegs electricity grid connections at almost 20 percent while the Government’s push is to achieve 60% on-grid connections by 2025.