Utility service provider, Umeme has said it would next year fully roll out the prepaid metering system which is currently under a pilot scheme in some parts of Kampala.
Umeme, which is listed on both the Uganda and Nairobi exchanges, said yesterday that the nationwide rollout would start January next year with a view of concluding the exercise by 2018.
Mr Henry Rugamba, the Umeme public relations manager, said the utility service provider is currently piloting the system. The system is likely to reduce cases of power theft.”
The ongoing pilot project in parts of Kampala connects customers to the new system, and will continue until all clients within Kampala are converted.”
Up-country conversions are according to Mr Rugamba also in the pipeline and is likely to start in the last quarter of next year.
Uganda has about 550,000 customer connected to the national grid.
Reading this year’s budget, the Finance minister, Ms Maria Kiwanuka, said, “Umeme is required to have connected about 15,000 on the pre-paid metering system to increase efficiency, as well as reduce distribution system losses.”
“The rationale of piloting the scheme was to aggressively test the reliability of the system, the payment solutions and customer appreciation,” Mr Rugamba maintained.
Customers will bear no extra costs in the conversion process.
Umeme also claims, to have invested up-to to Shs8 trillion on the pilot scheme in the areas of senstisation and carrying out network restoration.
Recently Umeme listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and the Nairobi Stock Exchange in a bid to raise money to clear its debts as well as fast-tracking the pre-paid metering system.
According to available data the proposed investment in the pre-paid metering system is estimated at Shs516 billion in the next five years.