BY AMBROSE GAHENE
Intending customers who want to connect to the electricity grid no longer have to trek to the Umeme offices following the launch of an online application portal by power distributor Umeme.
The platform dubbed “myumemeonline” will enable one to apply from anywhere, at any time on a computer, a tab, a laptop or the iPad. This comes in handy as entities generate convenient solutions amidst the current global health situation.
One will be able to use the platform on their mobile device phone if they download the Umeme App.
An applicant can track the progress of their application with the tracking number provided after submission of the application.
Umeme’s Managing Director Selestino Babungi said over the years Umeme has contributed significantly towards the improvement in distribution and the electricity sector of Uganda.
“We introduced prepayment billing (Yaka) and as we speak 97 percent of our customers are on Yaka prepaid metering. We also established a 24/7 contact centre to deal with customers’ challenges. We have now automated the customer application process which allows customers to be served digitally without going through the trouble of coming to our offices,” Babungi said.
“The network has more than doubled. At the start of this Company, we were operating 5,000 transformers, now we have more than 14,000 transformers operating. The number of substations has moved from 49 to 60 plus 9 switching stations. The sector has continued to grow and become more commercially viable. We have improved efficiencies of the customer touch points by continuously innovating to eliminate congestion at the offices and through use of technology and going cashless so customers can pay us 24/7.”
State Minister for Energy Simon D’Ujang unveiled the portal on Wednesday at Serena Hotel, Kampala urging the public to utilize the platform because it is user -friendly, cheaper and efficient.
“This timely innovation by Umeme will complement the Government’s efforts in improving service delivery of the energy sector. I thank Umeme for championing this initiative. We expect a further increase in the number of applications with the launch of this portal,” D’Ujang said.
He said the Government has adopted a strategy to build cheaper power generation plants in order to lower the tariffs which are a function of increased consumption.
Ms Florence Nsubuga, Umeme’s Chief Operations Officer, said Umeme has 46 offices with an average distance of 60 kilometres.
“Our aim is to improve the customer experience. That is what technology is here for, giving you the power in your hands to control everything that you do as far as interfacing with Umeme is concerned,” Nsubuga said.
Ms Nsubuga said Umeme continues to improve the customer experience by introduction of self service options through our digital self-help channels.
“Therefore, in a bid to further boost the customer experience Umeme has introduced an Online New Connection Application portal which is an online portal that will enable our customers apply for an electricity connection at their convenience using any internet – enabled device anytime anywhere without visiting the Umeme offices.”
Julius Wandera, the Director Public and Consumer Affairs at the Electricity Regulatory Authority reiterated the Regulator’s commitment to support innovations in the energy sector.
Umeme has increased the number of customers to 1.6 million from 350,000 in 2005.