Kabale Stakeholders Demand Accountability As UMEME Faces Scrutiny Over Power Woes
In a tense meeting at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital intern hostels hall, chaired by the Kabale Resident District Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakahuma, UMEME officials faced criticism from local stakeholders regarding the inconsistent power supply in the district.
Championing the concerns were prominent Tour operators, Hoteliers, Medics, industrialists, and security authorities. These accused UMEME of causing significant disruptions to the power supply, adversely impacting businesses in the area.
According to concerned parties, the erratic power supply has forced businesses to resort to generators, resulting in additional costs due to fuel consumption. They underscored the detrimental impact on the district's economic development, asserting that the unreliable power supply has caused setbacks for various enterprises.
Dr. Gilbert Arinaitwe Maateka, the Kabale District Health Officer, and Dr. Esther Rutaremwa, the Medical Superintendent for Rugarama Hospital highlighted the severe consequences of the power issues on health facilities. These disclosed that essential equipment like blood fridges were rendered non-functional, leading to an oxygen shortage in Health centers.
Abel Ruganza, the Kabale District Police Commander, asserts that the persistent lack of adequate lighting in Kabale town has contributed to an escalation in the local crime rate.
In response to stakeholders' concerns, Paul Ssempira, UMEME's head of Operations for western Uganda, attributed the erratic power supply to trees encroaching on power lines, stating that 64% of outages were caused by transient faults within the main power lines.
Despite Ssempira's explanation, stakeholders remained unconvinced, raising questions about UMEME's negligence in customer care. They proposed a meeting between UMEME and the Ministry of Energy to find a lasting solution to the power outages in the district.
Expressing his concerns, RDC Nyakahuma warned of potential protests by stakeholders due to erratic power supply, emphasizing the possibility of security challenges arising from investor protests. He threatened decisive action if UMEME failed to comply with resolving the power issues.
Kabale district grapples with regular power disruptions. On average day, the area experiences over 10 instances of power fluctuations, with most blackouts lasting between 2 to 5 hours.