By Guest Writer
OPINION: With the shutdown of Isimba Dam, Ugandans with access to electricity are facing unprecedented supply disruption.
The load shedding is mainly affecting the Kampala metropolitan area which is not only Uganda’s administrative center but also its main business arena. It is also affecting the parts of eastern Uganda.
The load shedding was affirmed by UMEME, the largest distributor in the country through its social media platform with outage alerts and interruption notices.
Amidst the ongoing power shedding, Uganda has over the last 16 years paid at least Shs1.4 trillion to 13 private power generation firms for power that was never consumed, and today is the time the Ugandan government must work with those private firms (Independent Power Producers (IPPs)) to ensure that the ongoing loadshedding ends.
These companies must fill the electricity supply gap left by the shutdown of Isimba dam.
In an August 16, 2022 press release, the Ministry of Energy indicated that the load shedding would go on for three weeks.
This is an unjustified statement because these are three weeks of Traders counting losses, stranded work, darkness at home and many schools without standby generators, three weeks of groceries going bad, electronics getting spoilt and so many things with no assurances.
As a country, it is the time we start looking and investing in sustainable options like solar power s to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy services by 2030, as set out in the United Nation´s Sustainable Development Goal 7, to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of citizens.
Investment in off grid majorly solar and wind power will not only build more independence and resilience power supply but it is a long-term solution cure the ongoing monopoly, and mismanagement in the electricity sector.
With a growing awareness of Climate Change and natural disasters, we must push the Ugandan government to invest in environmentally stable sustainable solar and wind power to cater for the citizen power needs to reduce on environmental crimes in such for firewood, biogas and others.
The rumoured sources that the government is considering to import additional energy from Kenya is very bad for the citizens who have for 16 years paid for electricity that they have not consumed.
The government needs to change its electricity sector investment strategy. Instead of importing and paying companies to generate excess power, government should support communities to access off grid solar home systems which can be deployed for production purposes as well.
I urge the government to look at companies like GoSun, one of the growing companies to become the World’s Best Clean Tech Brand.
I urge the Ugandan government to look beyond Umeme and other electricity companies in the country to break the monopoly and mismanagement in the electricity sector in Uganda through diverting investments in affordable and independent solar power, wind and off grid options to protect our environment and serve the power needs of Ugandans.
The author is Norah Luyigga, Communications Officer, Youth for Green Communities (YGC).
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