Northern Uganda: UMEME Pledges Reliable Power after network investment
By Ambrose Gahene
Uganda’s leading power distributor Umeme has pledged that it will provide enough reliable and sustainable power, following its successful network investment.
The power distributor has embarked on stakeholder engagement meetings with various stakeholders across the country, starting with Northern Uganda to explain the company’s planned projects aimed at improving power reliability in the communities.
The main objective of the meetings, according to Peter Kaujju, the Umeme Head of Communications and Marketing, is to inform customers in the districts of; Lira, Gulu and Kitgum, about the scheduled supply reliability improvements projects in the month of February, and the likely short term impact in terms of outages and supply interruptions to customers.
Kaujju told the District Focus that, “We are focusing on stakeholder engagements to share with the people and also let them know all the plans that we have and the investments on the network.”
Adding, “For the last three days, we have been in Northern Uganda where we are carrying out a lot of investments and rehabilitation of the network, replacing lines, beefing up our sub stations in Gulu and Lira, doubling capacity to ensure that there is enough reliability of power. We were engaging the customers informing them that we would have a short-lived inconvenience to enable us bring about reliability and relief at the end of this period.”
John Baptist Magulu, the Umeme Customer Service for the Northern region, said that they are currently carrying out a Substation Capacity Upgrade (10MVA at Gulu & 40MVA at Lira). They are also addressing redundancy on the network (Current load – 5.1MVA) and Create space for Acwa dam generation (41MW)
Government has indicated in NDP3 that industrialization is key and industrialisation cannot move without power, so electricity is a key ingredient in industrialization. Everybody needs power.
Gulu City Resident District Commissioner Odong Latek Stephen while speaking in Gulu said, “People do not seem to understand the difference between Umeme and other sector players. Everything to do with electricity is perceived as Umeme. Therefore, the stakeholder engagements are an important platform for informing us the leaders about the planned projects. This in in turn helps us to communicate better to the communities and inform them exactly what is happening and the benefits that will accrue out of the projects investments.”
Latek said there is improvement in the service delivery and the supply from Umeme, but the unit cost of electricity is still high for the ordinary man. He also appealed to the government to increase the connections so as to drive down the cost of electricity when there are many people on board.
The RDC applauded Umeme for helping government achieve its VISION 2040. He said the engagements was a good move in the right direction. He urged the stakeholders to take positive message to the public and be ambassadors of Umeme.
Umeme is the largest electricity distribution company in Uganda with a total of 1.52m customers. The Company is mandated to operate, maintain, upgrade, and expand the distribution network, retail electricity to its customers and improve efficiency within the electricity distribution system. Umeme is a public company listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and Nairobi Securities Exchange and regulated by the Electricity Regulatory Authority. Uganda’s National Social Security Fund is the largest investor in Umeme with 23.2 per cent shareholding.