Written by Godfrey Ivudria
Published on 15th of February 2021
Umeme – a leading power distributor in Uganda 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 was 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.
As such this will affect supply in the entire northern region. All the shutdowns will run from 08:00 am to 06:00 on the scheduled days.
Umeme Head of Communications and Marketing, Peter Kaujju speaking during the stakeholder engagements in Northern Uganda said, “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 substations in Gulu and Lira, doubling capacity to ensure that there is enough reliability of power.
We were engaging the customers and informing them that we would have a short-lived inconvenience to enable us to bring about reliability and relief at the end of this period.”
John Baptist Magulu, the Umeme Customer Service for the Northern region, said 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)
The government has indicated in NDP3 that industrialisation is key and industrialisation cannot move without power, so electricity is a key ingredient in industrialisation. 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 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 project’s investments.”
Latek said there is an 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 the government achieve its VISION 2040. He said the engagement was a good move in the right direction. He urged the stakeholders to take a positive message to the public and be ambassadors of Umeme.