Members of Parliament have voiced their frustration regarding ongoing delays in electricity connections despite the necessary infrastructure being in place within their constituencies.
The legislators expressed their dissatisfaction during a parliamentary session on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, as the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa, presented a report on the status of the electricity and power sub-sector.
According to Nankabirwa, the power generation capacity has increased from 1,378.1MW to 1,778.1 MW following the technical commissioning of four units at Karuma. This expansion is a result of synchronizing the 300MW from the Karuma Hydropower Project.
Minister Nankabirwa explained that plans are underway to update feasibility studies for Ayago (840MW), Oriang (392MW), and Kiba (400MW) to meet the growing demand for electricity.
Furthermore, she highlighted significant improvements in electricity transmission, distribution, access, and sub-county connections, with only 433 sub-counties remaining to be connected.
However, Members of Parliament questioned why there were existing power lines without connections, urging the ministry to address this issue promptly.
Kashari South County MP, Nathan Twesigye, inquired about the delay in connecting areas where infrastructure, such as poles, lines, and transformers, were already in place.
Jane Avur, the District Woman Representative for Pakwach, urged the ministry to prioritize transmission and distribution, especially in rural areas, to support government programs like the Parish Development Model.
Similarly, Felix Okot Ogong, the MP for Dokolo South County, expressed concern about the extended delay in connecting certain areas, leading to high costs and business closures due to expensive electricity. He also pointed out that a lack of electricity affected students in rural schools, preventing them from using distributed computers for research and learning.
Minister Nankabirwa committed to examining the raised issues and assured that districts without electricity would be connected, aligning with government policy. She urged members to inform the ministry about dormant electricity lines, which have been unused for over two years, to facilitate planning and reduce vandalism.