Umeme registers less connections than govt targets

Connections. Connection to the national grid is still low. Umeme only has 1.4m connections. FILE PHOTO Far less. The 93,580, Umeme registered for the period ended June, are far less than government’s annual average of 300,000 connections.

Umeme has registered a 7.2 per cent growth in customer connections with 93,580 connected in the first half of 2019.
Data from the power distributor’s half year results indicate that 93,580 customers have been connected to the grid compared to 82,373 connected in the same period last year.
“The total grid connections in our footprint grew by 7.2 per cent over the last six months, with an additional 93,580 customer connections, leading to a customer base of 1.4m as at June 2019,” the report reads in part.
However, the new connections are lower than government’s target, which in November last year launched the implementation of the free electricity connections policy with a view of connecting 300,000 customers annually.
However, Umeme, which runs 97 per cent of the country’s national grid has only connected 93,580 in half a year despite an increase in applications for electricity to 1000 a day.
Ms Ziria Tibalwa, Electricity Regulatory Authority recently revealed that while the funds for the project are available, there were implementation challenges in verification of meters by Uganda National Bureau of Standards which has since been cleared.
However, Umeme, in its financials reported that Shs118b spent on customer connections is due for recovery from Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in the second half of the year.
In addition, Umeme says that the utility company needs additional resources through its distribution, maintenance and operation costs if it is to reliably connect 300,000 customers.
Energy losses for the period also increased to 16.9 per cent from 16.7 per cent which Umeme is using as justification to demand for additional resources to curb power theft, (commercial losses) and continuous capital investments in the network.

The company incurred a total capital investment of Shs147b during the period but declined in revenue collections to 98.7 per cent from 102.8 per cent last year.
1.3m customers are currently connected to pre-paid metering while 244,000 still remain on postpaid.
Electricity sales grew by 7 per cent to 1,563GWh from 1461GWh in 2018, mainly attributed to industrial demand. Industrial customers, who account for 68 per cent of total demand, increased by 10 per […]

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