The Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) has taken over power distribution in Bundibugyo District. It replaces the Bundibugyo Energy Cooperative Society (BECS).
In 2009, Bundibugyo Energy and Cooperative Society won the concession to manage the power line in the district. According to the concession, the cooperative took the responsibility for power distribution, maintenance of the power lines and managing the revenue from power consumers.
BECS has also been supplying power to Ntoroko and some parts of Kabarole District.
However last month, the Electricity Regulatory authority (ERA) suspended its operations for alleged gross mismanagement and incompetence.
The company has been experiencing financial challenges of late. In 2019, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) closed the company offices in Bundibugyo town for alleged failure to remit an unspecified amount of money in taxes. It also failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the license and the money compliance guidelines including failure to plan, upgrade and expand its consumer base.
It’s also accused of failing to remit over 4.5 Billion Shillings to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company limited for the power it was supplying.
Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako the Chief Executive Officer ERA says that the government will continue to offer maximum supervision to UEDCL to ensure compliance with the license.
Paul Mwesigwa, UEDCL Managing Director, said they have had a smooth transition that will not disrupt the power distribution to clients. He adds that within a month they will rebuild and rectify all customer records to clear all irregularities caused by BECS.
UEDCL has also introduced a new team of technical supervisors. Some of the former BECS staff has also been incorporated into the new field team.
The Chairperson Board of Governors BECS Justus Nkayarwa Banjombe blamed their woes on Rural electrification Agency-REA and Electricity Regulatory Authority-ERA who failed to give them guidance and hands-on supervision.
He says that last year, REA had proposed a recovery plan for the cooperation, which was never implemented.
Judith Bambona operating a saloon in Bundibugyo town asks UEDCL to review the electricity tariff, which she says are too high for small business operators.
BECs had made over 1,500 connections comprising domestic consumers, businesses and industrialists.
Before Thursday UEDCL had over 77,448 customers spread across the 61 districts of operation.