Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has rallied all concerned agencies in the energy sector with different government administrative and security structures to launch the biggest offensive ever on power theft and vandalism of transmission lines and distribution infrastructures which.
The attack which Engergy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa has called “olulumba sserulumba” meaning “the mother of all attacks” is aimed to crash once and for all vandalism and power theft that says costs the government hundred of millions of dollars a year.
The government has in the past three years intensified investment in the electricity generation, transition and distribution operation throughout the country. But despite these investments the ministry of energy decry the rampant cases of vandalism of power supply infrastructure.
Nankabirwa has said that the recent outage of power experienced by the country was due to vandalism where segments of the network have been destroyed out of malice which interferes with the progress of the country.
Nankabirwa adds that the interference with electricity supply network threatens the security of people’s homes, it has increased the cost of doing business in Uganda and also it has an effect on the cost of power.
The minister also observes that vandalism of power supply infrastructure has a relationship with the unregulated scrap business in the country, saying that there is need to work with Uganda Manufacture’s Association to ensure regulation of the scrap sub-sector.
The minister cited out the cases of vandalism which include the collapse of five towers in Mbalala in Mukono district on the 132 KV line that happened on the 20th September 2018 causing a power blackout that lasted for 3 hours.
She adds that 29 towers were badly vandalized in Tororo district on the 132 KV Tororo- Lira transmission line under construction leading to 13 towers collapsing on the ground which leads to delays on the delivery of government projects and increasing project costs.
“156 metric tons of steel equivalent to 20 towers have been vandalized on the 220KV Bujagali -Toro transmission lines, this illustrates the determination of the vandals who even dig out the thick metallic part fixed in the ground,” she said.
The minister called up the RDCs who are the head of security committees in their respective districts and responsible for monitoring government projects to come up and fight this vice in the order to realise the NRM manifesto on electricity distribution in all parishes.
Solomon Muyita, the spokesperson of the ministry of energy said that all government electricity distribution agencies like UEDCL, Umeme, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) and other companies have come together with the help of police and other members of the district security committees to fight electricity infrastructure vandalism in the country.