“Umeme Will Power  Healthcare, Industrial Sector During COVID-19 Lockdown”-  CEO Babungi Promises

“Umeme Will Power Healthcare, Industrial Sector During COVID-19 Lockdown”- CEO Babungi Promises

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By Spy Uganda

Uganda’s power
supplier Umeme Limited has vowed to continue supplying power to the health
sector, plus all industries and factories in the country, as away of sustaining
the Ugandan economy during the Coronavirus (COVID-19 lockdown and thereafter.

The revelation was made by the Umeme’s Managing Director Selestino Babungi, who in an exclusive interaction with TheSpy Uganda, revealed what Umeme is doing, to keep Uganda, especially our healthcare and manufacturing facilities switched on and running during  the COVID-19 crisis. Read his full statement below;  

“In the last few days, there has been some substantial easing, by government, of some of the lockdown measures that have thus far, protected Uganda from the raging Covid-19. As most Ugandans begin to return to work, they will be happy to find everything running and the lights on, just like at their respective homes. Behind all this has been the 1,625 men and women at Umeme; Uganda’s largest power distributor, working together in partnership with the generation and transmission partners, to keep Uganda, especially the healthcare and manufacturing facilities switched on and running.

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Covid-19, the deadly
disease caused by the Coronavirus is now a local and a global reality. I would
like to applaud all our frontline healthcare workers and other individuals and
institutions who are working day and night under the strategic guidance of our
president, to keep this pandemic at bay in Uganda.

As guided by the
President, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, while the healthcare workers fight the
disease, care must be taken to keep the economy running, without compromising
public health.

Umeme Field Technician Attends To a Customer. The Power Distributor has Maintained its Technical Teams on Ground 24/7 to Respond to Emergencies Country Wide amidst the Lockdown Challanges

Umeme, accounts for
over 97% of all electricity supply in the country and we therefore understand
and appreciate that we must stay at work to keep the country switched on and
running. I appreciate the efforts of our 1,625 staff and contractors who have remained
committed to keeping the lights on.  We
also appreciate the support received from the security Joint Task Force, which
has continued to support us during these tough times.  

But Uganda can only
keep the economy running, if we are all healthy and alive, which is why I urge
all of us to join hands to fight the Coronavirus by adhering to all government
directives and guidelines especially staying home and practicing the various
safety measures that government has so articulately communicated.

Adjusting Our Processes To Keep Uganda Switched
On

At Umeme- the safety
of our customers, our staff, and the public has always been a priority. In
light of the directives issued by the government, Umeme has had to inevitably
make adjustments in our standard operating procedures to protect our staff and
subsequently the public, but also ensure we reliably keep on the lights. (santacruzcore.com)

First of all, to reduce the level of human
interaction, we have had to scale down on the number of staff coming to work
physically. This has seen us reduce the number of staff per shift. To fit
within the 12-hour night curfew, we
have also had to create longer shifts of 12 hours in our contact centre and
work management centre. We have further relocated staff required to be at work to service centers
nearest to their places of residence.

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The
staff rationalisations however do not affect the technical teams. We have
maintained the usual technical teams who attend to faults in Kampala, Entebbe
& Mukono areas. Our entire upcountry faults teams are also fully operational.
The specialised teams that attend to big breakdowns and vital installations
such as factories, healthcare facilities, security installations, and other
vital facilities are on standby.

Umeme Ground Transformer In Tororo. Umeme’s Continued Investment In The Distribution Grid Has Significantly Increased In The Stability And Reliability Of Power Supply In Uganda

The decongestion on
our roads has also allowed us to respond to emergencies and technical faults
faster and timelier. This is why for
example even with the reduced workforce, our service levels remain high.

Umeme Keeping Health And Manufacturing Facilities
Running

Most
referral health facilities, except Mulago National Referral Hospital, do not
have dedicated power lines. They share these power lines with other users in the
community in which these facilities are located. To ensure maximum efficiency
during this delicate period, Umeme carried out preventive inspections and
maintenance on these lines and the supporting substations to enhance their
performance. We have also made sure that any emerging faults on these lines are
prioritised ahead of other faults for faster restoration of supply.

Also the pre-paid meters to
health facilities were replenished with credit to ensure continuity of supply
without disconnection.

The continued
investment in the distribution grid has significantly contributed to its
stability and reliability. For this year, the plan is to invest a further US$
80 million in substations, line works, and expansion of distribution zones. We
also aim to convert the remaining 150,000 postpaid customers to pre-paid
metering.

Protecting Umeme Staff And Their Families

For the safety of our
staff, Umeme complies with the Ministry of Health Guidelines on CoVID-19 and
has provided the required personal protective equipment like working goggles,
hand sanitizers, vehicle sanitizers, and gloves, etc. Our field technical
teams are under strict instructions to adhere to Ministry of Health guidelines
while attending to network operations and technical customer service requests.

We urge the public to
boost the efficacy of these initiatives by equally practicing the ministry of
health guidelines, especially maintaining the recommended 4 meters social distance while dealing with
our staff.   

The
investments in technology have enabled us to continue serving our customers through
the use of digital channels at our contact centre, payments through digital
channels, remote network management through the use of SCADA  and remote working of our staff. Our
operations would have been significantly derailed during the lockdown period if
we had not embraced technology over the years.

Let us stay safe, stay home, and save lives”.   

Selestino Babungi, is the Managing Director,
Umeme Ltd.

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