Up to 30, 000 households are to be connected to the electricity grid over the next 12 months ‘free of charge’.
To that end, the World Bank through the Global Partnership on Output–Based Aid programme, has committed a $5.5million (Shs15.2 billion) grant.
Currently, one has to part with Shs98, 000 and Shs326, 000 to get connected for a no–pole and a one–pole service respectively.
The 30, 000 connections will be for households within a 100-metre radius of an electricity pole.
To qualify, households must have been within that radius for the last 18 months and should have done the basic internal wiring of the houses.
Mr Sam Zimbe, the general manager regulatory and corporate affairs of Umeme, the company that will connect the households, said households in Mbale, Tororo, Lira and Gulu would also benefit.
“The areas targeted are upcountry and in the peri–urban areas where potential consumers have not been able to connect to the grid because of affordability issues,” Mr Zimbe told media yesterday. “This programme is aimed at increasing customers numbers. If you connect households, they will move away from using charcoal, which is partly to blame for deforestation.”
According to the National Development Plan (2010/11 – 2014/15), one of Uganda’s development blueprints, access to electricity is 11 per cent compared with 15 per cent in Kenya. The few connections are largely attributed to the inadequate transmission and distribution networks and high end-user tariffs.
Electricity distribution companies such as Umeme, the Bundibugyo Electricity Cooperative Society (BECS), the Pader Abim Community Multipurpose Electricity Cooperative Society Limited (PACMECS), and the Kyegegwa Rural Electrification Cooperative Society are expanding their distribution lines.
On the other hand, the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited is extending the power transmission lines.
• Households that are wired have to apply to the electricity distribution company to be connected.
• Though they will not pay the connection fees, they are expected to pay for the electricity they will be using.