Over the last 12 years, Umeme’s investments in the distribution infrastructure has led to the doubling of the physical infrastructures, improved efficiencies, quadrupling of customer connections, supply reliability and improved customer service
According to Selectino Babungi, “Umeme has cumulatively invested over US$500m in the distribution network” He said, adding that these investments focus on restoration and expansion of the grid, reduction in energy losses, improvements in efficiencies, rollout of prepaid metering, connections of new customers to the grid, and improving public safety improved service delivery, reliability of supply and improving public safety.
The benefits of these investments is evidenced by improved system reliability, network reliability, improved safety, reduction in energy losses, increased customer connections and the deployment of technological innovations such as Yaka, Automated Meter Reading technology, the UmemeApp, all of which have offered a new customer experience to all the utility’s stakeholders
In order to improve efficiency, Mr Babungi, said they had to innovate Yaka mainly for domestic, commercial and government customers, which cover up to 70% of the customer base.
“The prepayment system is convenient, efficient and reliable to customer. It allows them to control and monitor their electricity consumption” Said Babungi, adding that the platform has been integrated with all the major financial institutions, commercial banks, mobile money operators and points of sale service, Eezymoney and payway.
Selectino Babungi further noted “Yaka as a product has improved the company’s revenue collection to 99% from 80% in 2005, adding that these has helped reduce energy losses to 17.5% compared from 38% in 2005 when it took over the management of the distribution network.
Umeme has also grown the amount of revenue billed to shs1,200b from 160 in 2005, while electricity sales have improved threefold to 2,800 gigwatt hours from 1,015 in 2005. The distribution network has also grown from 250,000 customers in March 2005 to 1,000,000 as of June 30, 2017.
During the half-year of 2017, Mr Babungi further noted “a total of US$99m was invested in the network, some of the key projects that were executed include; the construction of a 40 MVA Moniko substation in Lugazi and Mbalala, completion of Namugongo integration lines, GetFit mini hydro project integration lines, upgrade of Lugogo to Kibuli lines, refurbishment of lines in Kabale, Mukono and Pallisa” He said, adding that currently we are upgrading Namanve Industrial Park and converting Government of Uganda accounts to prepaid metering. The focus will continue to be on growth and efficiency related projects in readiness for the upcoming generation capacity.