Umeme completes $83.3 million planned investment amidst challenges
BY AMBROSE GAHENE
Leading power distributor Umeme is closing 2020 on a high note after completing the $83.3 million planned expenditure despite challenges brought about by the COVID19 pandemic.
Umeme spent $83.3 million (about ShsX310 billion) in 2020 to ramp up capacity enhancement and network stabilization programme in rapidly growing regions across its footprint.
The money is part of the $450m (about Shs1.7 trillion) for the 2019 and 2025 investment agenda.
Speaking to a cross-section of the media earlier today, Selestino Babungi, the Umeme Managing Director said he is glad that the company has completed all the investment works that were laid out for 2020 on time.
“We started the year on a high note but were affected with the COVID19 pandemic which slowed down all our operations,” he said.
He explained that the team was able to cope very first and quickly digitize all their operations which allowed them to continue working normally from home.
“We started the year with 190,000 postpaid customers but am happy to note that we have converted 160,00o customers to prepaid. This helped to limit human interaction and also address losses as well as improves operational efficiency in customer service,” he explains.
Commenting on some of the investments that the utility has undertaken, Babungi said “Our investment plans are a further confirmation of our commitment to Uganda and the people of Uganda that we are proud of the journey we have walked with them thus far and are looking forward to continue powering Uganda’s progress and development.”
Babungi said one of the major projects undertaken this year was the Siti project including Siti line, Tororo line, a switching station in the Mbale industrial park and upgrade of the Mbale substation which were all completed.
Umeme also upgraded other sub stations in Gulu, Ntinda, and built a new station in Nakawa, to improve on the capacity Kampala to address the growing power demand from housing developments and industrial areas in the Nakawa and Bugolobi areas.
The Mukono North substation is now in use after the construction of lines to link the facility with consumers. Umeme has erected poles and strung cables from the facility in Mbalala, Mukono District to Katosi, 40 kilometres away, Mpata and within Mbalala.
Umeme has connected lines that will provide National Water and Sewerage Corporation’s Katosi water station, Tian Tang, and Kampala Cement factories, among other industrial consumers of power, with reliable and quality power.
Other projects include network refurbishment in Njeru Municipality, Jinja district powering MMP industrial Park, as well as investment in injecting new transformers in the network across the country. “We added over 100 new transformers to 100 zones across the country,” Babungi said. “Umeme has taken a deliberate move to deliver services to the hands of our customers through investments in ICT. Customers can now transact with us from anywhere in the world without necessarily visiting our physical facilities but rather the digital hubs ,” he added.