Mbale still tops in electricity theft, despite reduction

Electricity distributor, UMEME says about 100 people died in the last one year from accidents related to illegal power connections.

Umeme General Manager, Celestino Babungi says most of these occur in the Mbale region which is also the biggest single source of illegal connections, accounting for 10 percent.

Power losses, mainly through illegal connections, have been reduced from 37 percent seven years ago, to 17 currenctly.

Babungi says though the rate has dropped due to vigilance, the company still loses 100 billion shillings in energy loses, with 10 billion lost to illegal connections in Mbale.

This while addressing the media in Kampala this morning.

Deputy General Manager Sam Zimbe says Umeme wants to invest at least 1.5 billion dollars in the next years, to improve the   distribution network, cut power cuts and operational costs

Most of this money will be raised through the stock market, as Umeme is listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange, he says.

Meanwhile, the power distributor is worried at the slow pace of industrialization, compared to the 9 percent growth of the energy sector.

General Manager Sam Zimbe says with electricity output set to triple in two years from the current 750 megawatts, the country could have redundant capacity.

He says the economic must stabilize and attract more investors to consume the power, adding that negative reports on the country affect its attractiveness.