About 110,000 Ugandans are projected to convert to the Yaka prepaid billing system by the end of this year, Umeme has said.
The power distribution company head of communications, Mr Henry Rugamba, said currently, 95, 000 people have transformed to the system implying that 15,000 are targeted between now and end of December.
“The 95,000 are in the districts of Kampala, and Masaka,” he said. “We planned to spend $18 million to actualise our target. Of that amount, $ 8.5 million has been spent so far.”
Banda, Kintintale and Nateete are some of the suburbs in Kampala District, where the project is underway. A total of $11.8 million (about Shs46 billion) has been invested in the three suburbs alone.
Mr Rugamba says the preference of one district over another is guided by the objective to reduce both technical and commercial losses in the given district, the capacity of a given district to run and maintain the prepayment system, that is, the business readiness, and customer service improvement.
“The commercial losses referred to are attributed to power theft, fraud, non-billing and bill estimates. Technical losses are attributed to the network.
Launched in 2013, Yaka enables a customer make upfront payment for their electricity consumption.
In its early days, the system faced criticism with some customers saying it was expensive compared to the traditional post-paid system. Umeme, however, urged the customers to be economical in their power use.
The prepayment technology is also shared by the free power connection project, a programme recently launched by the Ministry of Energy that involves free connection to power for households wired by a certified electrician and are within a 35 metres range from a power line that has been in existence for 18 months or more.
“This free connection is only to the prepaid billing system,” said Mr Adam Wamala a manager at Out Based Aid Project, the implementers.