By Rita Acayo
Power distribution company UMEME has finally come out to clarify on the regular power outage which is biting businesses in Gulu and other districts of Acholi, writes TND News’ Rita Acayo.
Tom Awuzu, the regional manager UMEME says theft of fire proof pole savers is to blame for the current power outages.
Awuzu tells this contemporary online newspaper that unknown goons have tampered with the main power line that supply Northern Uganda through Soroti via Lira.
He thinks that the saboteurs steal the fire proof pole savers to mint money.
“These installations are very expensive to replace and so far we have lost about 218 proof poles savers within the district. These savers were installed to help protect the poles from burning. Interventions have been made but vandalism is at its peak,” UMEME northern regional manager lamented
According to Awuzu, the proofs were stolen in less than two months but notes that pole replacement and maintenance are ongoing.
He explains that apart from theft of fire proofs, some unscrupulous people are also engaged in power theft adding that UMEME entered in a loss of about 22% due to power theft and illegal connections.
He further added that they anticipated bush burning from early November and the entire dry spell and decided to install the proof to avoid circumstance of poles being burnt by wild fire, but poles are set on fire deliberately as locals search for edible rats that are a delicacy in the region.
Awuzu however appealed to the community to report any incident of power theft and vandalism in surrounding areas and to give information to their offices about inconvenience and theft.
Another intervention is that UMEME are to continue engaging stakeholders, individuals and groups on routine basis.
Simon Peter Wokorach, the deputy Resident District Commissioner Gulu, has advised UMEME to always engage stakeholders in a round table and iron up issues of such concerns, saying this will help them to handle or curb vandalism and theft of these proof pole savers.
“Gulu is becoming a city and irregular power supply becomes a disappointment to the business community,” Wokorach notes.
He has pledged to give total support to UMEME in cases related to theft and vandalism.
Gulu District with 70,000 connections to the national grid has been experiencing major power shutdowns over the past three months with blackouts lasting up to eight hours a day.