By Rogers Wanambwa
KIU, Main Campus - Umeme, Uganda’s main power distribution company, tabled a $219 million (UGX813.2 billion) budget for the year 2021. Part of that, $119 million (UGX442.4 billion) is to cater for capital investments in the grid while $60m (UGX 222.4bn) is to cater for net operating costs.
According to Umeme, $2m (UGX6.6bn) is to be expended on lease payments, and the balance $38m (UGX 141.8bn) on an assortment of other items. It plans to invest in the evacuation of Karuma and Acwa hydropower plants, improving power supply and enhancing the network.
Besides, the distributor will clear the backlog of 240,000 applications for connection and transform the 40,000 post-paid meters still in use to prepaid.
As it is, Selestino Babungi, the Umeme Managing Director informed stakeholders in a virtual application for a tariff review that COVID-19 has led to a revision of the company's work structure after its global effects.
“2020 was a difficult year for us as a company. We had ambitious plans but COVID-19 impacted us. However, we demonstrated resilience and as a company, we say that electricity is a fundamental input into the economic transformation of this country so we came out strongly to continue putting in place systems for the continuity of supply and services to our customers,” he said.
The government, on December 7th, permitted people who can meet the full cost of connections to pay for them with a no-pole connection costing UGX741,188, while the one-pole connect will cost between UGX2.3 million and UGX2.7 million depending on whether the cables are insulated or not.
The company promised that connection that requires no pole will take 10 days while a connection that requires a pole will require 30 days.
Currently, Umeme has 1.53 million customers a leap from 292,000 in 2005 when it launched its operations.