By Our Reporters
Hardly two days after the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa decried the rampant vandalism of evacuation power lines and expensive towers across the country – the vandals struck again -this time near the capital Kampala- in Mukono and brought down two high voltage electricity transmission lines causing a prolonged blackout in Kampala today morning.
The State Minister for Energy ,Hon. Sidronius Okaasai Opolot told the nation- while opening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission To Uganda at Speke Resort Munyonyo that one suspected vandal was electrocuted when the 132 KV power line fell on him and other suspects are on the run.
The Minister said security agencies have since mounted a manhunt for the suspects whom he said are involved in acts of “terrorism and economic sabotage.”
Flanked by the Under Secretary and Accounting Officer at the Energy Ministry , Mr. Emmanuel Freddie Mugunga-Minister Okaasai said that the power lines which were cut down caused the black out in and around Kampala and added that the affected areas will experience load shedding for at least three days as the Ministry of Energy technical teams work around the clock to restore and stabilize power supply .
He said that the Ministry officials would also make a statement about the increased cases of vandalism of electricity equipment on the floor of parliament .
Last week while briefing the media about the notorious problem of power lines vandalism in Uganda , Energy Minister Nankabirwa decried the vice and said the cost of replacement of vandalised –high-voltage -electricity materials and gadgets is huge and unsustainable.
“In the last two years alone, the government has lost over $2 billion to the vandalism of electricity infrastructure. We have to deal with this vice the way we deal with terrorism. Vandalism continues to cost the sector billions of shillings. We have requested for the services of the UPDF to guard key electricity infrastructure such as transmission towers and substations,” said Nankabirwa.
Despite huge investments in the sector, the minister explained that Uganda continues to grapple with rampant cases of vandalism of power transmission and distribution infrastructure and urged the public to be vigilant and report those responsible the nearest police station and sister security agencies.
Nankabirwa explained that by cutting down electricity supply network it leads to wanton- power blackouts, threatens national security and homes; increases the cost of doing business and electricity tariffs, and disrupts vital health and education services as well as people’s livelihoods.
Both Nankabirwa and Okaasai have assured the country that a security national committee is going to be set up and it will include RDCs to find a lasting solution to the problem of power lines vandalism. One electricity tower costs in the excess of 20,000 USDs and if not stemed the economic loss to the country runs in billions of shillings .
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