Umeme Customers Hit One Million Mark
At least one million customers are now on the national power grid run by power distributor Umeme. This has been disclosed by the Managing Director, Selestino Babungi, at a press conference after Umeme’s annual general meeting held in Kampala Thursday.
Babungi said the one million mark is a big jump from the 200,000 customers Umeme inherited from Uganda Electricity Board in 2005. The one million customers constitute between 15 and 20 per cent penetration.
Of the one million customers, Babungi said 65 percent are on Yaka pre-metering and contributing 65 percent of total revenues. He attributed the milestone to investment in technology, innovation and streamlining of business processes.
Umeme Board Chair, Patrick Bitature, said it is their intention to connect as many customers as possible all factors remaining constant. Umeme Chief Operations Officer, Florence Nsubuga, said the Wuyo anti-power theft campaign has led to a reduction in power thefts particularly in Bugisu region, noting that there has been a reduction from 10 percent to five percent.
Nsubuga said Umeme is also now in a position to prosecute power thieves in real-time, adding that the process of dealing with the thieves has greatly improved. Asked whether Umeme intends to reach West Nile in the near future considering that the region is the only one not on the national grid, Umeme Board Chair, Patrick Bitature, said the region is not in their plans for now.
West Nile Rural Electrification Company, a subsidiary of the Aga Khan conglomerate, has a 20-year power concession, but is having it rough with power severe outages. The people and their leaders have been pushing for the region to be connected on the national grid.