Leading power distributor Umeme has picked up the threads of the anti–power theft operation it launched in March. It has fanned out from Central Uganda, Jinja, 80 kilometres East of Kampala, and now to Mbale city, even farther East with an excursion in Bukedi region launched today.
The operation is meant to check illegal connections, meter tampering, and to ensure bills due are settled. It comes on the heels of the increase in energy losses by one percentage point – from 16.4% to 17.5% – between 2019 and 2020.
To underscore the importance of the task, Umeme together with local leaders with support from the Uganda police combed through the township of Palisa, Kibuku and Budaka for suspected electricity thieves.
“Bukedi region covering Pallisa, Kibuku and Budaka are supplied through a power line that carries 1 million units of power and of which power losses average 400,000 units monthly, an average loss of 36%,” Trevor Kigenyi the Regional Manager Eastern Uganda said.
This accounts for 15% of the total loses in the Bukedi Elgon region losses. This amounts to Ushs 3.6 billion in lost revenue every year.
John Baptist Nuwamanya, the Umeme Metering services engineer says the region has a customer base of 3143 customers of which 153 are small and medium enterprises, 3 phase maize millers with 10 medium industrial maize millers.
In these areas, up to 928 people had by the close of last week been apprehended on suspicion of pinching electricity since the operation was launched.
Some had pirate wires connecting their premises to the overhead the national grid while others could not account for the underground cables linking their homes to the grid.
As police officers took the suspects’ statements, many confessed and offered to pay for the power they have been consuming as well as to formalise their connections.
A 17.5% loss of electricity in transit between a, say, 724 megawatt (MW) power generation plant and households translates into 126.7%.
The 126MW that is dissipated as heat and commercial loss is sufficient to drive up to four factories of Roofings Namanve’s scale.
Power theft stalls the official connection rates since those who should be looped in use the service illegally.
The vice deprives the utility of cash needed for operations and maintenance, which leads to the deterioration of the network.
The Head of Communications and Marketing, Peter Kaujju, said Umeme will not relent in the fight against electricity theft.
“The key function of this Komboa operation is to weed out illegal connections and to ensure people have access to our service in a safe manner clearing following the set electricity connection procedures,” Mr Kaujju said at the launch of operation in Pallisa.
The Electricity Act provides for fines and jail terms for those convicted of electricity theft.
Senior Supretendant of Police Ashraf Chemonges who represented the Inspector General of Police cautioned the public to desist from stealing power and vandalising electricity equipment.
The Pallisa Resident District Commissioner Ms Farida Mayanja Mpiima urged the community to be patriotic by preserving government efforts. She commended Umeme for her efforts and said she will join them in community barazas to sensitise public against power theft.
The world 5000m and 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei has registered to take part in the 6th national Trials slated for April 24th, 2021 at Mandela National Stadium, Nambole.
Cheptegei will be making a maiden appearance at the championship after missing the other editions on the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) calendar.
Namayo Mawerere, the UAF publicity secretary said Cheptegei will join other local athletes and others from Kenya in the national Trials. Many of the athletes will be all out to try and hit qualifying times for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
According to Mawerere this time Cheptegei will not be competing in his 5000m/10,000m races, but the 1500m which will help him develop speed for 5000m ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
The presence of the World Champion in middle distance and the invited Kenyan runners especially in the long distance races will help improve the quality of the national trials.
Ugandans Ronald Musagala, Abu Mayanja will be the other seasonal Ugandan athletes who will compete in the 1500m race.
Women middle distance race is also expected to be highly competitive with World Champion Halima Nakaayi battling against new kid on the block, Prisca Chesang Chemweno who is currently enjoying good form in the 800m and1500m races. Chesang won the 1500m in the women race of the 5th Track and field competition.
The competition will be intended to select more athletes for the Tokyo Olympics, Africa Senior Championships and the World U-20 Championships.
Police in Bushenyi district are holding the pastor of Star Light Worship Center International for allegedly having sex with a juvenile.
Martial Tumusiime, the greater Bushenyi police spokesperson identifies the suspect as Kushemerwa Solomon a resident of Tankhill cell in Bushenyi Ishaka municipality, Bushenyi district.
It’s alleged that Kushemerwa has been sleeping with this young girl since her parents allowed her to stay with the pastor’s family during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The suspect was arrested after a tip off from his wife who is also a pastor at the same church.
“The wife reported a violence case to Police and told us that his husband has also been using that girl whom they stayed together with. We called the girl here and she also confessed. We therefore had to arrest the pastor; he is in our cells now”, Tumusiime said.
Kushemerwa is currently detained at Bushenyi police station and will face defilement charges in court once Police investigations are done.