UMEME: Residents Demand UGX 56 Million Compensation Over Power Surge


In short
Francis Oryema, a trader in Ayul A village says it was the second time that he is affected by the high voltage.

60 power consumers in Kitgum are demanding 56 million shillings from Umeme in compensation for the property they lost as a result of high voltage on January 04th this year. The affected power consumers are from Ayul A and B cell in Kitgum town council. Some of the affected items include refrigerators, radios and Televisions sets. Mark Okeny, the Chairperson Kitgum Business Community says the damages caused them financial loss. He says they have already notified the UMEME area office of their intention to sue the company.
Okeny says dealers in cold drinks, bars and hospitality businesses that rely on some of the electronics were worst hit as customers shunned their premises after the incident. Some of the traders interviewed are very bitter that Five months later UMEME has not compensated them for the damages and losses caused to their businesses.  Francis Oryema, a trader in Ayul A village says it was the second time that he was affected by the high voltage.

He says they were left with no option but to repair their appliances for fear of losing business after waiting for Umeme to assess the damage in vain. A Police report submitted to the office of the RDC Kitgum last week that Uganda Radio Network has seen indicates shows that the power consumers are demanding for 56 million shillings in damages. It also noted that most of the affected residents have already fixed their electronics to continue doing business.

John Ssentongo, the Kitgum District UMEME Supervisor says the claim of the traders is already before the company’s legal team. He blames the damages on faults on transformers serving those areas.

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Ssentongo apologized that the company legal team could not visit the scene of the damage as requested by the clients due to commitments they had on their desk. He urges residents to keep receipts they used in repairing their damaged electronics for ease of verification. He also apologized to the residents that the matter took a bit of time.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.