By Gloria Nakiyimba
Electricity distributor UMEME limited has secured 258 billion shillings funding to support its planned investments in the electricity distribution network.
Selestino Babungi the managing director UMEME says the funds from Stanbic Bank, Standard chartered bank, and the Dutch Development Bank allow the company to reinforce the net work over the next two-three years, to expand the system, drive efficiency and increase electricity connectivity . The financing will see Umeme increase grid connection by one million customers; improve reliability of supply across the country.
“Umeme aims to make investments in the network necessary to drive industrialization and to create efficiency throught reducing technical losses on the network” said Babungi.
According to Babungi, they need to get the losses down to 13 percent by 2025, add 2 million households to the national grid, and to improve reliability to ensure provision of safe, reliable and quality power to all households.
Patrick Bitature the chairman of the UMEME Board revealed that the company is in discussions with the government to seek the electricity distribution concession beyond 2025.
This he said “ would allow the company to raise the much needed capital to evacuate and uptake the power from Karuma/ Isimba and increase connections to achieve government of Uganda’s access target of 40% by 2025”.
The company will also use part of the syndicated funding led by International Finance Cooperation –IFC to convert the remaining 250,000 customers onto prepayment billing system.
UMEME has so far rolled out one million prepaid meters and collecting for the sector 99 per cent of the money that is billed used to pay the transmission company and generators.