The vice of vandalism is not restricted to Kampala as we have seen in recent past, have cut pylons holding high-voltage power to obtain steal for selling as scrap metal.
Kenneth Otim, spokesperson of UETCL told The Sunrise that in 2013 alone, the agency lost Ushs 1.5bn in replacing the pylons.
Otim says the vandalism happened mostly in Kakira sugar and Kibimba rice plantation both located in Busoga sub-region. The two plantations are located along the Kampala-Malaba highway.
Otim says the vandalism has increased in recent years and could result into more power blackouts if the power lines are felled by strong winds.
Otim says that about 466 pieces of angle bars were stolen from 26 pylons from October 2013 to date which has weakened up 660km of high voltage electricity lines around the country.
More worrying however, Otim notes, vandalism has not stopped with pylons but has also extended to other dangerous power installations such as the 132kv Owen falls dam Lugogo transmlssion Line. Otim says vandalism on these lines could cause blackouts in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono district and other parts of the west Nile.
But the UETCL publicist notes that because of the remoteness of many of the lines, the agency has not apprehended anyone with stolen metal.
Instead, the agency has resorted to mass sensitization especially in areas where the lines pass, so that members of the general public can report the vandals.
The agency has also imposed tough penalties on these vandals such as a 2-year prison sentence as well as Ushs 400,000 or serving both.
Besides vandalism, Otim says the agency faces other challenges like fires that destroy their wooden poles carrying high-voltage power.
“We are changing these wooden lines to metallic. So far we started with Tororo- Lira, and we have so far constructed a half of metallic lines in different areas,’ but we expect that by the end of this year, the work will be done due to the presence of funds because the project is funded by the Africa Development Bank.”