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Friday, June 2, 2023

Stiffer Penalties Set For Electricity Thieves

The Ministry of Energy plans to implement tighter penalties to all those caught stealing electricity as a move to reduce on the theft of power in the country.

The Government plans to amend the 1999 Electricity Act to implement tougher penalties that will scare away those who intend to steal electricity.

The Ministry of Energy has united with Umeme to fight against power theft in an Anti-Power theft Campaign which was launched on Wednesday.

Some of the artists who have been made the ambassadors of the campaign are City comedian Ken Kimuli alias Pablo, DJ Languna, Moses Matovu, Joanita Kawalya, Sam Gombya and Sophie Gombya.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign at Serena Hotel in Kampala, Mr James Baanabe, the Commissioner for Energy, said power theft in Uganda has led to loss of many lives.

“The Legal framework should be made stronger so that those caught in the act are punished heavily.”

It should be noted that the current penalties have not helped in checking commercial thefts of power, which cost the country Shs60 billion annually.

Uganda’s power distributor Umeme says the aim of the anti-power theft campaign is to reduce power losses – both technical and commercial – by 10 percentage points over the next seven years.

Speaking at the launch, Mrs Grace Kaboyo, Resident District Commissioner of Lwengo said power is essential because it’s the core of development in Uganda.

“We need self responsibility to curb power theft,” she said.

Initially, Umeme has set that for the domestic consumers, if one is convicted of stealing power, he or she would pay Shs350,000 which had been increased from Shs 295,000. As for the commercial consumers, if one is convicted, the fine would be increased to Shs700,000 from Shs590,000.

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