By Vision Reporter
GOVERNMENT has started paying power connection fees for rural households to encourage use of electricity by the rural folks, energy minister, Irene Muloni, has disclosed.
“All households near the power lines (within 15 metres range) are being connected.
‘‘We only request the premise owners to contact certified electricians to wire their premises and inform any power distribution company near them. Their premises will be connected for free,” Muloni said.
She was speaking during a workshop organised by the United Nations Foundation in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature Uganda at Protea Hotel in Kampala.
Presenting a keynote address on universal energy access in Uganda, Muloni revealed that the free power connections are targeting 1.28 million new service connections in the short and medium term.
“To increase the number of connections, we are implementing the output based aid programme, which provides a subsidy to enable electricity connections in the rural areas. This will help those who are unable to pay connection fees,” she noted.
The minister urged power distribution service providers and development partners to buy into this strategy for both increasing the financial basket and vigilance in connections.
The Rural Electrification Agency is implementing the free power connections programme through its Energy for Rural Transformation output based aid programme.
The World Bank, the German Development Bank, KfW, and the Norwegian government have given $60m to support the project.
“The overall objective of the Rural Electrification Strategy Plan is to position the electrification programme on a path that will progressively advance towards achievement of universal electrification by 2040,” Muloni explained.
“By 2022, we hope to have achieved an electrification level of 22% and have a robust enabling environment and springboard for achieving this ambitious target.”
“Access to modern forms of energy improves people’s levels of productivity and liberates the marginalised,” she noted.
The energy ministry, according to Muloni, is implementing the rural electrification strategy and plan on “a model of scaled, multi-technology electricity service territories comprising the entire rural territory in the country.
Uganda’s access to electricity stands at about 15%. Most of the rural population largely depends on kerosene for lighting.
The low level of electrification is an impediment to the achievement of the national vision 2040 which is “a transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years.”
The minister said Uganda fully subscribes to ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency.