Members of Parliament (MPs) have expressed their dissatisfaction with the ongoing delays in electricity connections in their constituencies. The frustration was voiced during a parliamentary session on October 10, 2023, when the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, presented a report on the status of the power sub-sector. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa.
Nankabirwa shared that the power generation capacity had increased from 1,378.1MW to 1,778.1MW due to the technical commissioning of four units at the Karuma power station. This expansion was a result of the synchronisation of 300MW from the Karuma Hydropower Project. She also mentioned plans to update feasibility studies for other power projects, such as Ayago (840MW), Oriang (392MW), and Kiba (400MW), with the aim of meeting the growing demand for electricity.
The Minister highlighted that electricity transmission, distribution, access, and sub-county connections have significantly improved, with only 433 sub-counties yet to be connected. Despite this progress, many MPs questioned why there were still existing power lines without connections and called for immediate action from the ministry.
Kashari South County MP, Hon. Nathan Twesigye, inquired about the delay in making these connections when the necessary infrastructure like poles, lines, and transformers were already in place.
Hon. Jane Avur, the District Woman Representative for Pakwach, urged the ministry to prioritize transmission and distribution, particularly in rural areas. She emphasized the need for electricity in sub-counties, health centers, and schools to support government programs like the Parish Development Model.
Furthermore, Hon. Felix Okot Ogong, the MP for Dokolo South County, expressed frustration at the prolonged delays in connecting power lines, some of which have remained unused for almost five years while wooden poles began to rot. He also highlighted the high cost of electricity as a hindrance to local businesses.
Some MPs noted that the lack of electricity in rural schools was affecting students’ performance, as computers provided by the education ministry for research and learning were not being used due to the absence of power.
In response, the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, pledged to investigate the issues raised by MPs. She assured the parliament that districts lacking electricity would be connected, in line with government policy, and encouraged members to report dormant electricity lines to facilitate planning and prevent vandalism.