By Andrew Irumba
Days of load shedding will soon be bygones. This is because power suppliers Umeme reveal that they have since secured funding from their development partners amounting to USD70m, about Shs258Bn, to expand the power grid network in Uganda.
The money, according to insiders, will help Umeme purchase power supply and distribution equipment, refurbish the Power Supply Station and other infrastructure, plus other operational costs.
This revelation was made by the Umeme top management led by the Chief Executive Officer Patrick Bitature, during a presser held in Kampala on Wednesday.
Umeme thereafter wrote on their social media platforms thus; “Today we received Ugx.258 billion ($70m) for investing in the electricity distribution network. This will positively impact on our service provision to consumers and Uganda’s economy in general.
The key focus will be on;
Increasing electricity access and electricity connections
Improving quality and reliability of electricity supply
Reducing energy losses
Improving Customer Experience & Service delivery
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) was the lead-arranger including Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, Standard Chartered Bank and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO).
The CEO Bitature said that “We intend to connect 2 million households over the next 5 years and such a financial boost is a bonus towards this ambition.”
The managing director Selestino Babungi said while commenting about this new project that “There is need to invest in key priority areas to unlock demand in light of increased generation capacity as the 600MW Karuma HPP is about to be commissioned.
He also noted of the key milestones achieved by Umeme so far which include;
Investing more than Shs1.7trillion
Reduced energy losses -16.6% lowest in the region& 13% by 2025
Collections -99% which finance the sector
Improved reliability and service delivery.
He revealed that more is being done to match growth as Uganda positions to be an industrial hub.
On his part, Godfrey Sebaana, the Executive Director of StanChart Uganda, said that “”Energy sector is an important development driver in the country. Access to power for house holds, street lighting, industrial parks is a key driver for economic development & business continuity. We are proud to be part of this.”
Since 2013, has invested over US$ 460 million in the distribution network, resulting in growth of customers numbers to 1.4 million from 0.6 million customers.
The Managing Director Babungi said; “This investment will support capital expenditure programs,focusing on 1-Network upgrades to enable load growth & additional connections to support uptake of new generation,2-Safety/reliability enhancements,3-Complete conversion of customers to prepaid metering