By AMBROSE GAHENE
Power distributor, Umeme, has injected over sh17b in the past three years aimed at stabilizing and creating reliable power supply in Gulu City and the surrounding areas, a top official told stakeholders on Wednesday.
“More than sh17bn has been injected to improve reliability in Gulu City and the surrounding area. I can feel the difference. Last time we were in Gulu, power went off more than five times, but this time around, we have not felt even a flicker more than eight hours later. This is a remarkable improvement,” Selestino Babungi, the Umeme managing director, said during the Bomah Hotel meeting in Gulu City.
He noted that the Company’s emphasis for the past three years has been to deliver quality and reliable supply to the people of Gulu and Kitgum and surrounding areas.
“We are here to reassure you that we are your best ally in supply reliability. Our desire is to support you run your homes, businesses, and communities. We do not have any joy when you are off supply. That is why we push our technical team to get out there to restore supply even in the night,” Babungi explained.
John Baptist Magulu, Umeme’s Customer Services Engineer, said to create reliability in the city, the power transformer at Gulu Substation was upgraded from 2.5MVA to 5MVA.
“The installed capacity has increased to 7.5MVA with existing demand of 5MVA and upgraded the capacity to 10MW. We upgraded the Gulu feeder to support the evacuation of the Achwa Hydro Power Plan through Gulu Substation,” Magulu said. He added that all the investments are aimed at improving supply quality, availability and reliability.
Denis Odongpiny, the Gulu City Resident City Commissioner (RCC), said the utility’s investments in the Acholi Region and Gulu City, in particular, had brought great relief but also an opportunity to support business.
He observed that the unfounded impression was that the region’s precious unreliable supply was a deliberate move to keep the region further behind.
“I’m happy that this impression has been demystified. With this assurance, we are set for an industrial takeoff,” the RCC said.
The Gulu city Mayor Alfred Okwonga said he was pleased with the progress that Umeme has made so far in stabilizing the power supply in the region. He noted that the outages were less and the engineers very responsive.
He appealed to the Government to increase electricity coverage in the region to bring more villages to the grid. “We have 128 villages in Gulu city but only 21.7 percent have electricity coverage. We are appealing to the relevant authorities to increase electricity connections,” he said. Currently, Gulu has 13,000 customers on grid.