Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) Chief Executive Officer Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako, has directed Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) to compile and submit a report regarding compensation of people affected by the Nebbi Substation transmission line.
According to Ziria, whereas concerns have always been on delays by the contractor to complete infrastructure installation, this time it’s the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) who have blocked the transmission line.
“We shall ask UETCL to bring a report regarding people who are not yet compensated so that we know the challenges and have them sorted” she said during a tour of the Nebbi Substation plant alongside MPs sitting on the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Environment led by Dr. Emmanuel Otaala.
The C.E.O’s directive arose from concerns raised by the LC3 chairperson of Thatha division, Opar Jackline in whose area the substation is situated.
Opar informed members that whereas they fully appreciate government for bringing this project to the area, there are some issues especially about compensation of people affected by the project.
In her own division, she said three families are yet to receive their pay although they haven’t blocked the project like their colleagues in Nyaravur sub-county.
“There’s pulling strings still going on because of low compensation. I pray that this is done so that they don’t block the project” she said explaining that the main point of contention is on compensation for crops and trees thereon the land.
Opar also told the visiting team that the same area is facing challenges of people extorting money from them in the name of installation of electricity in their homes.
However, in response, ERA board chairperson Dr. Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi guided that the authority issued detailed guidelines regarding power connection.
“We have established guidelines on how people can get connected. Somebody to be connected, you (electrician) must have a wiring permit and must introduce themselves to local leaders” she guided.
Meanwhile, Otaala asked ERA to publicize those guidelines up to local government levels so that people are not cheated.
“What the LC3 has raised is not a unique case for Nebbi alone. It’s happening everywhere. There are situations where people masquerade as Umeme people, they climb electricity poles and they give fake meters. So, (ERA) work out a mechanism of how to regulate the work of service providers to see what they do in a given area” Otaala said.
In another development, Nebbi woman MP Acibu Agnes noted that the issue of power has been contentious in West Nile. She welcomed the power project saying, it would help boost incomes.
“Nebbi, we’re rich in land and food. But we need power to add value. Our people are crying for power and they believe in seeing the light in their houses for them to confirm that finally, power has reached. But personally, I am happy with the progress so far” she said.
Regarding compensation, she called for close analysis of the list of those being compensated to avoid loss of money.
She cited an example of a widow on whose land an electric tower was installed but she didn’t get money.
“We want to know, where are the challenges? Some people had crops on their land, others trees like eucalyptus but was this all valued and compensated for?” She asked.