Panic at Umeme as Gulu Residents riot over Power Outage 

The situation in Gulu town is tense this morning as angry members of the public attacked power distributor Umeme over persistent power outages. 

Panic at Umeme as Gulu Residents riot over Power Outage 
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The situation in Gulu town is tense this morning as angry members of the public attacked power distributor Umeme over persistent power outages. 

Police was called to help as crowds gathered outside the offices of Umeme to show their dissatisfaction with the company’s services.

According to residents, the whole municipality has been experiencing power outage for the past five years and nothing has been done by the distributor. Business owners also argue that power often goes off and sometimes takes about 12 hours before it returns, leaving their products to go bad. 

Also, businesses especially in the industrial areas have been affected forcing some factories to relocate. The Power Line from Tororo-Opuyo-Lira to Gulu has 60,000 connections and the company (UMEME) blames the outage on the increasing number T- offs on the high voltage line. 

Government last week blamed the power outage on the old wooden electric poles on the line found in the swamp which keep falling off, and that the Gulu line (Tororo-Opuyo-Lira) is an old line that was set up in the 60's and needs routine maintenance hence the intermittent power supply. 

Simon D'Ujanga the Energy State Minister sys government is currently replacing the wooden poles with metallic ones and that power supply to Gulu should be sorted by the end of this financial year.

The angry residents have been threatening to riot for some time but had been promised solutions which never came. Last week, engineers from Uganda electricity Distribution Company limited UEDCL said they were working on a quick solution that would see Gulu getting electricity from two different sources. These include the current line and Acwa2 power dam.

Stephen Ilungole the Umeme public relations officer told Howwe.Biz this morning that supply to the region has been affected by a combination factors including performance of the Tororo – Opuyo transmission line, theft of the pole support wires thereby causing poles to fall disconnect supply to customers, and the harsh weather conditions experienced especially in swampy areas during the rainy season.

“To mitigate the outages Umeme, Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited are upgrading the power transformer at Gulu Substation from 2.5MVA to 5MVA. The installed capacity increased to 7.5MVA with existing demand of 5MVA, upgrade of the Gulu Feeder to evacuate the Achwa Hydro Power Plan through Gulu Substation, working on construction of the UETCL 132/33 kv Sub Station and interconnection with Karuma, completion of the upgrade of the Transmission line from Tororo to Opuyo and engaging the community through bazaar’s to sensitize them on the dangers and effect of power theft and vandalism” he says.

Umeme’s Managing Director, Selestino Babungi appealed to the leaders in Gulu and the community to work with Umeme to protect the electricity supply infrastructure and fight power theft, as this will go a long way to ensuring power stability in the region.
 

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