Fort Portal City Council is considering connecting street lights to the national grid to curb vandalism.
In 2017, solar-powered street lights were installed in the town because they are cost-effective. However, there have been concerns from residents and leaders over the vandalism of solar street lights. The most affected solar lights are found in Nyabukara ward, Lugard road, Kyebambe road, and Fort-Portal-Kamwenge road.
Edison Asaba Ruyonga, the Fort Portal City Mayor says that the city had budgeted 100 Million Shillings to purchase solar street lights this financial year, but due to the rampant vandalism and theft, the council is proposing that the streetlights are connected to the national grid.
According to Ruyonga, more than 20 street lights have been vandalized and five suspects arrested for theft of batteries and solar lights.
Ruyonga says that a team of city mayors plan to visit the President and request him to reduce the street lights tariff plan to enable cities to utilize the national grid at an affordable price.
Albert Ahebwa, the Speaker of Fort Portal, says that the council will assess if the national grid is reliable, sufficient, and does not require routine maintenance like the solar lights which are prone to vandalism and theft.
Ahebwa says the city is struggling to maintain the lights and also replace the vandalized lights since there are no specific funds budgeted for maintenance works on the street lights.
According to Fort Portal city authorities, at least 27 street lights have been vandalized and solar batteries worth 48.6 million Shillings stolen in a period of one and a half years.
In 2018, the World Bank through Uganda Support for Municipal Infrastructure Development-USMID gave the then Fort Portal municipality 756 million Shillings to install solar lights.