Umeme Limited, the leading power Distributor in Uganda is to invest $155 million in the power distribution development network come 2018.
The $155 milion will fund activities such as refurbishing the old network, setting up new sub power station and constructing a new distribution network across the country.
Umeme deputy Managing Director, Sam Zimbe told ChimpReports that as government works on the two upcoming power projects (Karuma and Isimba) — power distributor is also required to put up infrastructure that will evacuate power from the two sources once generation commences.
“Government having invested a lot of money in the development of the two power sources, as power distributor we also need to invest almost the same value in the development of power distribution network to prepare us to be able to evacuate power from Karuma and Isimba whose construction is nearly accomplished,” Zimbe told ChimpReports in an interview.
Umeme will be constructing low and medium voltage lines across the country to enable them supply power sustainably to their clients. Zimbe noted that they have submitted their investment plan to the power regulator for approval.
“We have submitted our investment plan for the year 2018 to Electricity regulatory Authority for approval; once the plan is approved then we shall embark on executing the projects as planned by the technical people at Umeme,” he said.
Apart from investing in the power distribution network in 2018, Umeme will be also embarking on the projects of replacing wooden power transmission lines with concrete ones.
According to Zimbe, wooden poles are becoming big problems to the power distributor.
“We want to replace the wooden poles with concrete poles because wooden poles are prone to fire outbreak on addition to that Wooden poles are expensive and perishable that is why we are considering using concrete poles which are more durable and cheaper in the long run,” he explained.
He said the replacement exercise will target high voltage lines and they have stated pilot project on the Apunyo-Lira line.
On reducing power theft and increasing revenue mobilization in2018, Umeme will be carrying out more public awareness on power illegal connectivity and also improve on the enforcement in other parts of the country as the power distributor did in the Bugisu region in Eastern Uganda.
“Because of our enforcement excise which we carried out in Bugisu regions, we managed to arrest and prosecute those found stealing power. As power distributors, we are going to carryout massive clampdown against illegal connectivity across the country,” he told ChimpReports.
Apart from cracking down illegal connectivity Umeme will also phase out postpaid metering system in all Government agencies.
“All Government agencies will be shifting to prepaid metering system this will help us to close the lope holes in the postpaid metering system,” he added.