A top City lawyer identified as David Mpanga has waged a war against Umeme’s new initiative known as YAKA.
YAKA is a new initiative in Uganda that will see consumers pay for power before use.
Mr. Mpanga maintains that Umeme has no authority to direct consumers to switch from postpaid to prepaid meters.
“I wondered where Umeme, a private company, derived the power to direct me to switch from the postpaid to the prepaid arrangement and where it got the power to direct me to stay at my home all day on a working day,” said Mpanga in his article that he posted on dfkm1970.blogspot.com.
“I looked up the law and was not surprised to find that neither the Electricity Act 1999 nor the regulations of the Primary Grid Code give it such powers.”
Mpanga Further said that many consumers have fallen victims because they have been threatened with disconnection and prosecution.
“Many consumers have been compelled to switch under threats of disconnection and prosecution and have complied out of ignorance. This despite the fact that Umeme knows that it has no legal powers to compel the consumers,” Mpanga maintained his words.
He further said that it’s a disappointment that nobody has been told of the basic fact that Umeme does not have the power to compel anybody to switch to the prepaid plan.
Mpanga wondered why a listed company that is mainly owned by Actis Capital (a subsidiary of the UK’s Commonwealth Development Corporation), with top notch institutional investors like the International Finance Corporation (a division of the World Bank) and managed by some of the best qualified individuals (judging from the size of their pay cheques) would engage in such unethical and, frankly, illegal behavior.
“It’s because there is a lot of money to be made and Umeme can, and most likely will, get away with the shabby treatment of its ignorant, pliable and captive consumers,” Mpanga roared while stinging Umeme.
Mpanga’s war against Umeme’s YAKA prepaid meters started when he was summoned to appear at Umeme offices in Kitintale within 48 hours on Tuesday September 2 to explain circumstances for totally refusing YAKA prepaid electricity.
The letter further threatened him that if he doesn’t appear in the stipulated duration he will face disconnection or prosecution.