Power regulator-Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) says over 30million Ugandans mostly concentrated in rural areas live their lives without electricity.
This situation therefore, has an impact on a wide range of development indicators including health, food security, education and poverty reduction among others.
“More effort is needed to accelerate if Uganda is to achieve SDG7 on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030” says Ibrahim Kasita, the Senior Stakeholder Engagement Officer at ERA.
He says connecting low-income households to electricity in rural areas has been a challenge for decades due to high costs of supplying rural and Peri urban households with power, lack of appreciate incentives, weak implementation capacity, population growth and the cost of the internal wiring of consumer’s premises.
Against this background, the government through it’s ministry for energy and Mineral development came up with an arrangement to address the new connections affordability challenges.
This arrangement dubbed ‘Electricity Connection Policy’ (ECP), obliges government to meet the cost of the ‘no-pole and ‘one-pole’ connections.
The consumer according to Kasita pays inspection fees of Shs 20000 to the service providers to facilitate inspection of internal house wiring to ensure its properly done for safe power use.
“ECP is a last mile strategy of taking electricity to the people and aims to achieve 60% access to the grid in the next five years. By this strategy, people will have electricity in their homes, businesses and in all public facilities by 2027” says Ruth Nankabirwa, the minister for Energy and Mineral Development.
She says government has already imported 87000 connection materials financed by African Development Bank to resume the ‘no-pole ‘ connections while funds have also been allocated to Small Service Providers to resume free connections immediately.
“The government believes such interventions and with public support, should enable Ugandans to access clean energy within the foreseeable future and contribute to the Socio-economic transformation of our country” Nankabirwa says.
The ministry says with funding from development partners such as French Development Agency (AFD) and European Union (EU), it has designed a project that will provide over 260,000 electricity connections effective this year.
The ministry says adequate and sustained funding is needed to ensure that the ECP meets its goal of increasing Uganda’s electrification level to 60% by 2027.
With this target, the ECP according to the ministry will contribute significantly to the achievement of national and international clean energy access targets like the third National Development Plan (60% access by 2025), Vision 2040 (universal access by 2040) and Sustainable Development Goal 7 (universal access by 2030).
“It is therefore anticipated that with the funding for connections from the World Bank, AFD/EU and other development partners, implementation of the ECP will run unimpeded and help deliver on the government’s ambitions of providing clean energy to all Ugandans by 2040” the ministry says.