Umeme’s Gulu network upgrades top UGX 17 billionBabungi (second right), chats with Gulu City officials on the sidelines of a stakeholders meeting to update them on the company’s investments to upgrade electricity supply to the region
Umeme, the listed utility company, has invested over UGX17 billion during the past three years towards stabilizing and creating a reliable power supply in Gulu City and the surrounding areas in northern Uganda.
The Managing Director, Selestino Babungi said today, “More than UGX17 billion has been injected to improve reliability in Gulu City and the surroundings. I can feel the difference. Last time we were in Gulu, power went off more than five times, but this time around we have not felt even a flicker in more than eight hours. This is a remarkable improvement.”
Umeme is the largest electricity distribution company in Uganda with a total of 1.52 million customers. The company is mandated to operate, maintain, upgrade and expand the distribution network, retail electricity to its customers and improve efficiency within the electricity distribution system.
He said the company’s emphasis has been to deliver quality and reliable supply to the people of Gulu and Kitgum and surrounding areas. Currently Gulu City has 13,000 customers on the grid. “We are here to reassure you that we are your best ally in supply reliability. Our desire is to support you run your homes, businesses and communities. We do not have any joy when you are off-supply. That is why we push our technical teams to get out there and restore supply even during the night,” Babungi said.
John Baptist Magulu, the Umeme Customer Services Engineer, said to ensure reliability throughout the city, the power transformer at Gulu Sub-station was upgraded from 2.5MVA to 5MVA. “The installed capacity has increased to 7.5 MVA with existing demand at 5 MVA but we have upgraded the capacity to 10MW. We upgraded the Gulu feeder to support the evacuation of the Achwa Hydro Power Plan through the Gulu Sub-station,” Magulu said. He added that all these investments are aimed at improving supply quality, availability and reliability.
Denis Odongpiny, the Gulu City Resident City Commissioner said the utility’s investments in the Acholi Region and Gulu City in particular had brought great relief, but also an opportunity to support business. He rejected the unfounded impression that the region’s previous unreliable supply was a deliberate move to economically keep the region further behind. He said, “I’m happy that this impression has been demystified. With this assurance, we are set for an industrial takeoff.”
Umeme is a public company listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and Nairobi Securities Exchange and regulated by the Electricity Regulatory Authority. Uganda’s National Social Security Fund is the largest investor in Umeme with 23.2% shareholding.
The Gulu City Mayor Alfred Okwonga said he was pleased with the progress Umeme has made to date in stabilizing the power supply in the region. He said the outages were fewer and Umeme engineers are very responsive.
However, he appealed to the government to increase electricity coverage in the region by connecting more villages to the grid. “We have 128 villages in Gulu City, but only 21.7 pc have electricity coverage. We appealing to the relevant authorities to increase electricity connections,” he said.