14 March 2014, Kampala – Uganda’s electricity transmission company Limited (UETCL), the power utility charged with maintaining high voltage grid lines, has warned of unavoidable countrywide blackouts in the near future as a result of widespread vandalism.
In recent weeks, UETCL says they have received rampant cases of vandalism on the transmission national grid lines, especially in central and eastern regions.
According to Kenneth Otim, UETCL’s head of public relations, the company’s vital transmission equipment such as transformer oil, tower angle bars, nuts and earth wires on its grid have either been stolen or vandalized.
Reports from UETCL indicate that the company has spent more than Shs 1bn since 2013 to replace stolen tower angle bars in Kampala, Mabira forest, Lugazi and Kakira sugarcane plantations, Bugiri, and Tororo districts, Dura forest in Mubende and Kasese district.
Otim said that the country risked a possible power blackout in case of a tower collapse along the evacuation power lines caused by the vandals.
“We’re facing a very big risk of a power blackout in the country should the vandals cause a tower to collapse along the Owen Falls-Lugogo 132kV, Owen Falls-Tororo 132kV and Bujagali-Kawanda 220kV lines,” Otim warns.
“These lines are important because they evacuate power from the large hydro power producers Eskom and Bujagali Energy Limited to our load centres and a cut off of supply will cause a power outage in the central, western and eastern regions of the country,” he explains further.
Otim added that the vandalism “is a national calamity which calls for national rethink and requires collective action in order to stem the tide and bring the culprits to book.”
– The Observer