Kamuli, (UG): Residents of Itukulu-Busabo village, Bupadhengo parish, Nawanyago sub-county in Kamuli district have cried out to concerned authorities over high costs of electricity saying this has resulted in the practice of illegal tapping to the power grid to stay connected and lighting.
Locals say accessing power has turned out to be very expensive and this has tempted a number of people in some areas of Kamuli to forego legal means of getting connected to power but instead resorting to illegal connections known locally as ‘Kamyufu’.
The development comes after the death of Naigaga Elizabeth who died as a result of electrocution as she tried to save a colleague Babirye Joyce who first experienced an electric shock in an incident reported to have occurred on Wednesday.
Ms. Babirye, the survivor says she was going to the garden before picking a stone to throw at an eagle which had caught a chick. In the process, her hand reportedly touched the thin wire which was illegally connected to power and screamed for help.
“I was going to the garden and saw an eagle with a chick and I picked a stone to throw at it but unfortunately I touched an illegal wire with power and I fell down in screams. A colleague came to save me but she was electrocuted to death. When I realized it was electric power, I coiled myself and that’s how I survived,” Ms. Babirye narrated the ordeal.
Local speak out
Ms Namugabo Loy, a resident of Itukulu village says installation of power is so expensive and that they can’t easily access power while following acceptable means and the distribution company is reportedly asking them what they termed as exorbitant fees to be connected to the grid legally.
“It’s very unfortunate losing our dear friends because of illegal connections but we have suffered with the issues of electricity. I personally gave in 600,000/= and fixed a meter box but again they are asking for 700,000/= to connect me to the pole. Power comes from nearer here in Jinja but we don’t know what happened, we call upon President Museveni to intervene,” Ms. Namugabo said.
Ms Nabirye Toofu cried to the President to have the cost of power subsidized so that everyone is connected to the grid legally.
Nabirye, a peasant says the increasing cost of power has left people with no option other than involving in illegal connections.
“We are crying to President Museveni to help us, power comes from Jinja but again the cost is high. We’re going to die and some people are dying because of illegal connections since they don’t want to sleep in darkness,” Ms Nabirye said.
Police confirmed the unfortunate incident saying they are hunting for at least six people in connection to illegal power connections which took the life of Naigaga Elizabeth.
Busoga North Police Spokesperson ASP Micheal Kasadha says the incident happened at around 7:30am on Wednesday.
“…preliminary findings show that the incident happened at around 7:30 am on Wednesday when Babirye Joyce touched the illegal power wire while in the garden before attracting Naigaga Elizabeth (now deceased) with screams for help. We’re hunting for six people to help us in investigations on this issue,” ASP Kasadha said.
Kasadha didn’t reveal the identity of the six suspects they are hunting for, on grounds that it could jeopardize their investigations. He warned the public against illegal power connections.
UMEME officials together with police visited the scene, disconnected and exhibited the illegal thin wires which caused the accident before ferrying the body to Kamuli Main Hospital mortuary for postmortem examination as inquiries continue.
Uganda’s power regulator, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) on the 4th of April 2023 announced the electricity end-user Tariffs to be charged by Umeme Limited for the supply of electrical energy in the second quarter (April to June) of 2023, with a reduction in Tariffs across all consumer categories except for the street lighting.
The tariff schedule for the Second Quarter of 2023 indicated a reduction in tariffs for domestic consumers to UGX 805.0 from UGX 808.9, commercial consumers to UGX 611.8 from UGX 624.6, medium industrial consumers to UGX 461.8 from UGX 472.3, large consumers to UGX 384.4, from UGX 386.3 and extra-large consumers to UGX 325.0 from UGX 326.6. The street lighting consumer category remained unchanged at UGX 370.0.
Do you have a story or an opinion to share? Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org Or join the Daily Express WhatsApp channel for all the latest news and trends or join the Telegram Channel for the latest updates.