By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: Power supplier Umeme Ltd have expressed complaints about continued vandalizing of power transmission lines by people in several people across various parts of the country, especially northern Uganda.
Tom Awuzu, the Umeme Gulu Manager says that vandalism and theft of power facilities are the major challenges causing continued power blackouts in Acholi and partly Lango sub-regions. Umeme has lost about 40 electricity poles to vandalism, since the beginning of this year on the Gulu and Kitgum power lines. Awuzu notes that most vandalism cases on the Gulu and Kitgum power transmission lines that come from Lira district are common in Lakwana and Bobi sub-counties, in Omoro district and Iceme Sub County in Kole district. However, Auzu could not divulge details of the financial implications. He added that recently a 15-year-old suspected vandal, a boy, was arrested and arraigned in the Chief Magistrate court in Kitgum district for allegedly stealing pole support wires, which Awuzu says is mostly used to make ox-ploughs by the community.
The Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Tom Oree, said, as leaders, they are doing community sensitization to combat the rampant vandalism that interferes with power supply. Wilfred Kaweesa, the Customer Service Engineer for Northern Region disclosed that plans are underway to upgrade Gulu power sub Station to improve the reliability and power supply by December 2019. It should however be recalled that in November, 2018 Gulu in municipality demonstrated against continued power blackouts that had engulfed the town for days and affected people’s businesses and patients in hospitals. This however also comes at a time when Umeme is enhancing power connection to northern Uganda by raising more transformers and poles to connect people there.