Residents of Katete in Mbarara City have been facing frequent power outages. The issue has been ongoing for several months but has worsened with the arrival of the rainy season. According to UMEME General Manager Eng. Byron Beine, this problem is due to strong winds that have been causing damage to electric poles and wires.
Byron explained, “We have been experiencing challenges with the Katete power line, resulting in intermittent power supply, because the Isingiro-Mbarara power line was affected by the strong winds accompanying the rains. However, our teams are actively working on the ground to ensure stability.”
UMEME recently visited its Mbarara area office to assess the situation and understand the challenges faced by the local population and business community.
The erratic power supply in Katete has taken a toll on various businesses, particularly those reliant on electricity for digital record-keeping, such as dairy product dealers and salons.
Kakuru William, a dairy milk operator at Royal Fresh Milk in Katete, shared his concerns. He pointed out that the building where his dairy operates lacks a standby generator, and the inconsistent electricity supply has created several difficulties. “We have no backup generator here, and the cost of fuel has increased to UGX 5600 per liter. This has raised our expenses, but we may not be able to increase the price of milk, which is already high at UGX 2400 per liter,” Kakuru explained.
Nayebare Shadia, who operates an ice cream machine dependent on uninterrupted electricity, expressed her frustration. “I suffer significant losses every time the power goes off and takes a while to return. When electricity is available, I make approximately UGX 100,000 to 150,000, but during outages, I only earn between Shs10,000 to Shs20,000.”
Humphrey, who runs a salon, mentioned that since UMEME’s announcement on September 13, 2023, regarding daily power cuts from 7 am to midnight, the stability of electricity supply has been compromised. “Since that day, the power has been unstable, although it was already unreliable for the previous two weeks. UMEME usually sends us messages, but we haven’t received any regarding the ongoing on-and-off issue,” Humphrey said. He added, “I lose money on days when there’s no power, and when people realize there’s no electricity in Katete, they don’t come even if I have a backup generator.” On average, he earns around fifty thousand per day, totaling 350,000 shillings per week and 1,400,000 shillings per month, but all of this depends on stable power supply.
Katete Kampala is located in Mbarara City’s southern area, neighboring villages like Kitoobero, Kihogo, and Kashanyarazi. These areas are experiencing steady development, with a population of around 30,000 during the day and 25,000 at night.