Thousands opt to self-finance grid connections after government exitThe customer funded connections initiative was set up to enable those who can finance house connections to pay and get connected, especially those in real estate and to reduce energy losses stemming from illegal connections.
The number of households opting to self-finance, following the government’s suspension of subsidies to the costs of connecting to the national grid, has reached 5,283.
Peter Kaujju, Head of Communications at Umeme said, “We have received about 5,283 applications to date of which 2,337 have so far been connected to the grid. We have been able to connect people within a space of four working days even when the regulatory days range between 10 and 15.”
The public-listed power distributor said it received these applications between December and January. This was after the government had earlier in December requested eligible applicants that can afford to pay for connections to do so.
Many of the applications received are for no pole connection, which means they already have a pole within connection distance and do not require one.
Kaujju said, “Kampala west, Kampala central, Entebbe, Nakulabye, Nateete, Mpigi and Kabalagala recorded a total of 189 applications of which 181 did not require a pole while the rest did.”
Kaujju encouraged members of the public who can pay for these connections to come and apply because Umeme has enough materials to connect everyone.
The customer funded connections initiative was set up to enable those who can finance house connections to pay and get connected, especially those in real estate and to reduce energy losses stemming from illegal connections.
Customer funded connections came on the heels on a cabinet decision to suspend power connection ‘free’ Electricity Connection Policy (ECP) subsidies due to budgetary constraints.
Under ECP, applicants paid just UGX20,000 – for the inspection of the wiring in their premises – to be connected to the grid.
With the suspension of ECP, the charge for a connection that does not need a pole is UGX720,883 while a connection that will require a pole and bare cable costs UGX2,387,472.
In case the connection will require the erection of a pole and the use of insulated cable, then one has to pay UGX2,741,188.
Even with the customer-funded connections running, some homeowners are still applying for the ECP connections, with at least 1,998 having applied between last November and January.
Starting from November 2018 when the government launched the donor funded ECP to 2020, Umeme made 248, 638. The government spent $58.6 million on the above connections though the Rural Electrification Agency, which oversees ECP, is yet to reimburse $25 million.