High-voltage power destroys electronics worth millions of shillings in gulu municipality
By Denis Otim and Polycap Kalokwera
Electrical appliances worth millions of shillings were yesterday destroyed following a high-voltage power surge that ripped through several offices and homes within Gulu Municipality.
The incident, which happened at around 1:00pm, sent occupants of the affected buildings bolting for dear lives, when electronics produced deafening blasts, followed by white and putrid fumes.
Beatrice Minyeto, the Branch Manager AAR Gulu Clinic one of the affected offices along Queens Avenue, said all electronic gadgets at the facility have been destroyed after the mishap.
She noted that all the facility’s laboratory machines that include a chemistry machine, Complete Blood Count [CBC] machine, laboratory fridge, Microscope, and a rotator all stopped working after the high-voltage power.
Minyeto stated that the clinic lost other electronics such as Television sets, seven computers, electrical adapters, dental chairs, imaging machines and lights.
“It first started by destroying our lighting systems, and then the TVs. Afterwards, every other electrical appliance went off,” Minyeto said.
She noted that they tried using a generator to test whether the machines are functioning but none is functioning.
“We have been greatly affected by this fluctuating power supply by UMEME Ltd. All our machines are down and we can’t offer services to patients who require the use of the machines and can only run simple tests like malaria,” she said.
Minyeto said it’s not the first time UMEME has caused them damages. She said they are now demanding compensation from UMEME Ltd for the destruction of their machines.
“It is painful because they don’t care about customer’s losses and immediately witch off their phones and act busy whenever there are problems,” she said .
“We informed them of what happened no one has come to assess the damage,” she added.
Another victim of the power surge, is Martin Okullooyere, the proprietor of Ma' Computers Ltd.
Okullooyere said lost seven computers, fans, adaptors and printers.
“I had just come from serving a client, when I saw people running out of the computer room, on entering the room smelled like a rotten egg, white smoke had covered one of the computers while the adaptors were flickering,” Okullooyere said.
He noted that when they checked on UMEME meter reading, the power voltage was reading at 403 to 405 adding that it was two times higher than the normal power supplied.
The country’s standard voltage is between 220 to 240 voltages.
“I am demanding that UMEME ltd compensate me for the loss of my properties. I am unable to carry on with my work at the moment. This is my source of livelihood,” Okullooyere said.
Teddy Akullo, an administrator at TruIT Uganda Ltd said the high voltage power destroyed their internet Router, two fans, network switch, computers and electronic cables amounting to Millions of shillings.
She said it wasn’t the first time they have lost electronic appliances to unsettled electricity.
“I think it’s time UMEME Ltd is held responsible for this damage. They need to pay for the electronic gadgets destroyed,” Akullo said.
Egesa Wilson, the Commercial Officer UMEME Ltd Gulu branch acknowledged that there was a power fluctuation on the electricity line.
He said they responded by putting off electricity to avert further damages of properties.
Egessa said they were sending a team on the ground to assess the damages caused by the voltage fluctuation.
There has been irregular power supply in the past two weeks within Gulu District and UMEME Ltd attributed it to maintenance work by their technicians.