Uganda’s Chronic Power Shortage
With the consistent power shortage leading to protests in different parts of the country, I had a quick chat with a metal fabricator, SENTONGO DANIEL. He makes windows, doors, gates, chairs in his workshop in Luzira which consumes a lot of power. Just how has the current power shortage affected his business?
Tell me about today in relation to UMEME
Since morning we have not had power until 4pm, and so we are busy trying to finish up orders on time. We cannot work into the night because we affect our neighbours. I remember times when we used to work into the night. Because we consume a lot of power, we affected peoples TVs and refrigerators.
What are you able to do per day with power interruptions compared to when you have a full day of power?
On a day when power is stable, we can make up to three doors but now we can only make a half a door as a result of power shortage.(On average, a door is Ushs.200.000 ($78). It has made our business make losses in such a way that, every day you have to eat, every month you pay rent. The Landlord does not care about power. All he wants at the end of the month is rent money.
Are you worried your business is not going to grow?
Our work is now being affected so much. For example, it’s a Christmas and many people who have been building want to enter their houses around this season but we have not been able to cope up with their orders because of power shortage. It is really a big problem.
So how are you copying with situation?
We are sparing the little time we have power to work very hard. (Daniels workshop has not generator. Power blackout paralyses his business as well.)