By Joan Ahumuza
The government of Uganda has allayed fears raised by residents living in Northern Uganda, over rampant power outages in the region, adding that there are ongoing works to step up a new supply station in the region.
Through a statement presented to Parliament on Thursday, 14 November 2019, State Minister for Energy, Hon. Simon D’Ujanga, refuted allegations that the recent power outage in Gulu and Kitgum districts was intentional.
“The prolonged power outage that was witnessed on Friday, November 01, 2019 till Sunday, November 3, 2019 was not a matter of sabotage as was stated in the letter of November 4, 2019; but rather due to an unplanned technical fault on the transmission network,” said D’Ujanga.
The minister, in response to concerns raised by Gulu Municipality legislator Hon. Lyandro Komakech, told the House that construction of the Aswa Hydropower Dam was already complete and the line to evacuate power from Aswa dam would be ready by the end of November 2019.
“Gulu, Kitgum and the environs will therefore be getting locally generated power from Aswa dam with effect from December 2019. Aswa dam will provide an alternative power supply to Northern Uganda and therefore enhance power supply reliability in the region,” D’Ujanga added.
He also told the House that Government had medium and long-term plans to establish electricity connection lines to link several areas in Northern Uganda and West Nile to the Karuma hydro-power station including to Lira, Kole, Nebbi and Arua districts.
The minister added that the commissioning of the Aswa Hydropower Plant at the end of November 2019, would enable the Acholi sub-region to get power directly from the Aswa plant, which would significantly increase power supply and reliability.
D’Ujanga also responded to concerns raised by Bunyole West County Member of Parliament James Waluswaka over vandalism of transformers and other electrical installations in various parts of the country.
He observed that transmission and distribution companies had registered challenges of vandalism of electrical installations especially underground cables, wires, transformers and transformer oil, most of which are used for scrap.
“The sector has met the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF)and Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the matter of vandalism for their intervention that will include regular checks on scrap dealers and smelters, to curtail trading in electrical installations as scrap,” said D’Ujanga.
He also told the House that a Bill to amend the Electricity Act that would impose punitive measures on vandalism had been cleared by the Attorney General for consideration by Cabinet, and would then be brought before Parliament.