UMEME loses shillings 800 million in kasese transformer theft.
By MORIS MUMBERE,
KASESE: Power Distribution Company Umeme has for the last two years lost fifteen transformers to thieves in the western district of Kasese. The theft worth eight hundred million shillings has left the power distribution company in a great power supply challenge to over one thousand of its customers in the district.
Stephen lubega who works as the maintenance engineer for Umeme Kasese told daily monitor on Monday this week that ten of the transformers were stolen last year and the other five were stolen early this year from different distribution points.
“We have lost at least 15 transformers to thieves whereby ten of them were stolen last year, five stolen this year, three of them belonging to local power distributor kilembe investment limited company in several distribution points in Kasese district” lubega Stephen said.
Lubega was speaking to our reporter on the sidelines of a two day awareness meeting of Kasese district stake holders and business communities at Verina gardens during organized by Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA).
He said the continuous transformer theft has downplayed Umeme’s efforts to retain sustainable power supply to serve the people of Kasese and Rwenzori region at large effectively.
Lubega says the company’s efforts to crap a whip on the thieves have not been supported by community members who are reluctant to watching over the thieves
In turn, lubega says this have contributed to frequent power blackouts since the company lack immediate transformers for replacement.
Patrick Ssebalamu the Umeme manager Kasese confirmed the rampant theft of transformers in several parts of the district especially urban areas.
Ssebalamu cited areas of Katadoba church in Kasese town where a 50Kilo voltage transformer worth 50 million shillings was stolen last year.
Other areas in Kasese town he cited are Base Camp lower 50kv transformer worth 40 million, Base Camp trading centre 100 kilo voltage transformer worth 70 million, Katadoba 50kv transformer worth 60 million, kilembe 200kilo voltage transformer worth 80 million, Kyebambe road 100 kilo voltage transformer worth 90 million.
Others are Kamaiba village 315kv transformer worth 100 million, railway station 100 kv transformer worth 70 million.
For this year two transformers that were stolen at spring international hotel of 50KV worth 40 million and Base Camp 100 KV transformer worth 70 million.
Ssebalamu further noted that several aluminum conductors have also been stolen thrice in areas of kamaiba, katadoba and in other new areas of Rungedabara, Hima where Umeme lines are under construction aluminum conductors have been taken thrice which is affecting the immediate delivery of to the customers.
Ssebalamu assured the public that the measure to avoid the theft as the company they will be putting transformers in public places like centre’s where the community can easily watch at those in the theft deals.
The Kilembe Investment Manager Mujungu Gideon also said his company has two transformers which he put at a cost of shillings 39 million.
Aggrey Kapere the railway police post station in charge told the meeting that as police they are challenged with identifying transformer thieves since most of them wear company uniforms and sometimes viewed as company workers.
Kapere added that some of the thieves connive with power distribution company workers to execute their dubious theft missions.
He called on Umeme to ensure provision of identification cards whenever their going to the field and endeavor to provide a list of expelled workers to the public as one sure way of managing power and transformer thefts in Kasese.
The ERA Principal Communication officer Diana Nandi-we are aware that power theft and vandalism is on the increase in Uganda but the government of Uganda is working on the amendment of the electricity act 1999 to provide for strong punitive punishment against power thieves.
She was however uncertain of when the amendment process is expected to start due to many stakeholders involved in the electricity sector.