By Ronald Kalyango
The Government has secured about $300m (about sh750b) from development partners to implement a 10-year rural electrification strategy, Godfrey Turyahikayo, the Rural Electrification Agency executive director, has said.
However, he added that they would need an additional $700m (about sh1.7 trillion) to fully implement the plan. “If all resources are given to us in the next four years, we shall be able to implement the programme within a shorter time-frame,” Turyahikayo noted.
He was addressing a stakeholders’ workshop held in commemoration of the agency’s 10th anniversary at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala recently. Turyahikayo said the first three By Ronald Kalyango years (2013-2016) would involve developing a new communication strategy, as well as legal and regulatory frameworks.
They also intend to reform the agency’s institutional set-up, establish service territories and develop their individual master plans. “We have divided the country into 14 service territories to attract more service providers to the energy sector, especially in rural areas,” said Turyahikayo.
To spearhead their project’s implementation, he said the second phase (2016-2022) would involve publication of master plans and procurement of longterm service providers to manage the different territories.
Apart from Umeme, Turyahikayo says there are six service providers spread out in the countryside.
These include Kilembe Investments operating a concession in Kasese and Bushenyi districts; Ferdsult Engineering Services, which operates concessions of Rukungiri-Kanungu; Isingiro- Ntungamo, Kibaale-Kyenjojo and Masaka-Rakai.
Bundibugyo Energy Cooperative operates the Bundibugyo concession, while PACMECS, a cooperative organisation, operates a concession in Pader district. In Rukungiri, the World Bank and Rural Electrification Agency funded the construction of an off-grid power dam.
After its completion, Kisiizi Power Company took over the management of a mini-grid in Rukungiri, while Wenreco operates a regional mini-grid in West Nile region.
“All the service providers have adopted the use of pre-paid metering systems and this has enabled the rural folk to manage their electricity bills,” Turyahikayo explained. “Our target is to discount the cost of wholesale bulk power sold to rural concession licensees on a needs-test basis in order to make on-grid rural electricity service more affordable,” he said.
Turyahikayo also noted that other resources would be invested in small power generation facilities as local sources of supply would be given increased priority.