13 September 2018

Uganda: Umeme Blames Wednesday Outage On Vandalism of Nalubale-Kampala Line

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(file photo)

On Wednesday night, several parts of the country were plunged into darkness following nationwide outage.

Minutes later, electricity distributing company, Umeme issued a statement on their social media platforms explaining what had happened.

"Dear Customers, there is a system failure at Owen falls Dam that has caused power to go off in most areas. This is being attended to," read the statement in part.

This was followed by another statement which said: "We have been advised by our supplier Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) of a nationwide outage. The UETCL team are working to restore supply. We regret any inconveniences."

UETCL would later issue a statement saying the cause of the outage was the collapse of the four towers that evacuate two major circuits on Nalubale-Kampala line as a result of vandalism.

"Four towers that evacuate two major circuits on Nalubale-Kampala line have collapsed due to vandalism causing partial nation blackout."

In July this year Umeme said it had lost up to 41 transformers valued at over Shs1.5 billion since January 2018.

The Mukono Umeme Area Manager, Mr Jason Muwaza described the rate at which the vandalism is taking place as alarming.

Early this week, one Julius Wakatia arrested on 7th Street Industrial Area in Kampala, cutting off underground transformer cables.

He was later charged in Court with tampering with electrical installations and jailed for two years on his own plea of guilty.

"There is increased theft and destruction of transformers and electricity supply infrastructure! Electricity infrastructure vandalism is on the rise! Criminals are on the loose! Transformers and other electricity supply infrastructure are public assets and it is an offense to steal or destroy them.

Interference with the electricity supply network causes power blackouts, threatens the security of our homes, increases the cost of doing business and electricity tariffs, and disrupts vital health and education services," said Umeme spokesperson, Mr Stephen Ilungole.

The company says it is incurring costs running up to billions of shillings annually in replacement of vandalised infrastructure. Vandalism has also been reported by the telecommunication companies, roads authority and local government.

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