The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu announced the resumption of the Electricity Connections Policy (ECP), which had been put on hold in December 2020 due to financial constraints. It had started in 2018.
The minister also revealed that the government would start handing over connection materials that will help with the continuation of the policy which was launched to provide free power connections to domestic users and address the challenge of low electricity access rate.
Its implementation is to last a period of ten years, from 2018-2027.
ECP's goal is to achieve 60% level of access to grid electricity in Uganda by 2027 by increasing the number of connections made annually from the average of 70,000 before introduction to 300,000, which is in line with NDP III and vision 2040 goals of increasing electricity access in the country in order to improve the quality of life of Ugandans through sustainable industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and sustainable wealth creation.
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) will implement the Policy.
Through REA, the government will meet the cost of the no-pole and one-pole connections and consumers will pay inspection fees of Shs20,000 to service providers.
According to the minister, as of December 7, 2020, the backlog of electricity connections due to funds constraints stood at 200,500 and the government was also in arrears for connections made by service providers totaling Shs103.409 billion.
With the resumption, according to the minister, this will be cleared. Minister Kitutu revealed that REA has procured 87500 connection materials under the African Development Banking funding in addition to 2598 connection materials under the Islamic Development funding phase 1.
In the 2020/21 Financial Year, the government has allocated Shs14.2 billion to (Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) and small service providers to partly pay for already made connections and commence new connections on March 8.
The service providers include UMEME, UEDCL, Kilembe Investments Limited, Kyegegwa Rural Electrification Cooperative Society, West Nile Rural Electrification Company among others. In total, the service providers will handle 110,687 connections.
"Once these connections are implemented, we should be able to clear the backlog for all the small service providers which require no pole including UEDCL," the minister said.
"However, for the Umeme operate area, the current backlog stands at over 206284 and will be reduced by about 42%."
The minister noted that the African Development Bank and the Exim Bank of China are to invest more money in the project. "We anticipate that more materials will be delivered in the country by August 2021," she said.