Government seeks Shs 1.4 trillion loan for free electrical connections

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By Christine Kasemiire

The Energy Ministry said the government has approached the World Bank for a $ 400 million (Sh.1400 billion) credit facility to restore free power connections for the next five years.

State Energy Minister Simon D’ujanga said yesterday that the government is stepping up efforts to get free electricity connections back up beyond the recently announced program.

“The government is also at an advanced stage in securing $ 400 million (1,400 billion shillings) from the World Bank to support the power connections policy for a period of five years. There are a lot of backlogs of connections that we have to make and we are working hard to make sure that the money arrives soon, ”Mr. Connexions said.

The government recently announced the resumption of the electricity connection policy with financial assistance from the African Development Bank.

The recovery, the government said, would meanwhile aim to connect more than 110,000 homes that do not need a pole.

The electricity hook-up policy was halted in December after the government ran out of donor funds as Covid-19 shifted donor priorities and focused on the medical emergency.

Publicity

At the time, the pending requests were over 250,000, the bulk of which was recorded by Umeme, which still has an unpaid debt of $ 23 million from completed connections.

Ms Florence Nsubuga, Chief Operating Officer of Umeme, said yesterday that with the resumption of free connections, Umeme, which is expected to connect around 87,500 customers, would start with households that had already requested electricity. She was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Umeme online electricity connection request portal, which aims to increase the efficiency of the request process.

“If someone stays on the Mbarara road, they have to travel more than 50 km to submit an application, sign documents and request electricity. Today’s customers want fast turnaround time. Customers can now request electricity from the comfort of their living room as long as they have internet access, ”she said.

Mr Julius Wandera, director of business and consumer affairs of the Electricity Regulatory Authority, said Umeme’s innovation was a step in the right direction, noting that innovation is at the heart of electricity sub-sector.

Mr Wandera said the regulator was also in the process of launching an app that would certify chains.
This, he said, will integrate the systems for efficient service delivery.

Slow response
Mr. Simon D’ujanga, however, challenged Umeme, citing the slow response to complaints, which continues to question the reliability of electricity across the country.

However, Mr. Selestino Babungi, Managing Director of Umeme, said that they are now focusing on reliability of supply by leveraging innovation and technology through automation and zoning of their customers. for faster response time.

Umeme, he noted, has worked on innovative systems that seek a real-time response to customer complaints.

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