Government through Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) has been drawn to the increased vandalism of the electricity infrastructure across the country.
For a while, the vice occurred randomly within isolated black spots but on a small scale, said State Minister for MEMD Hon Okaasai Opolot.
However, the scale and scope of vandalism have intensified into a systematic and well coordinated organised crime syndicate.
The increase in the vice’s magnitude affects completed lines and ongoing projects.
Over the weekend, two 132kV transmission lines from the Jinja-based 180MW Nalubale and 200MW Kira Hydropower Plants were vandalised, leading to extensive power blackouts in Central and Western Uganda.
The 132kV Owen Falls-Lugogo Transmission Line was vandalised at Kivuvu village in Mukono district, leading to four towers falling on the ground on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at 00:36 hours. Subsequently, the Owen Falls-Mukono North-Mulago Transmission Line was also vandalised at Nasuuti village in Mukono district, leading to one tower falling on the ground on Sunday, November 13, 2022, at 01:10 hours.
Impact of vandalism
The rampant vandalism of electricity infrastructure remains a major impediment to delivering quality and reliable power supply, especially to critical sectors such as Health and Manufacturing.
It equally increases power project development costs, frustrates efforts to expand the Grid and accelerate access to electricity services for all Ugandans, and has overall effects on the Economy.
Besides, over Ushs.2 billion is spent annually to replace vandalised power lines, on average.
Replacing the five newly vandalised transmission towers will cost Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) over Ush.1 billion (over Ush.200 million each).
The sector has been forced to commence power load-shedding of about 104MW, effective November 13, 2022. 2.
The 220kV Bujagali-Kawanda evacuation line is temporarily being used to partly evacuate Nalubale and Kira power plants alongside Bujagali and Isimba power plants.
Switched on the expensive 50MW Namanve Thermal Power Plant, which is always on standby for emergencies.
UETCL is constructing temporary structures to restore the faulted transmission lines – which are estimated to be completed by November 18, 2022.