‘You’ll pay before using power in 2014’
Posted Wednesday, October 30 2013 at 02:00
Kampala- Power distributor, Umeme Ltd, will from next year switch its customers from post-paid to prepayment metering.
Umeme’s head of communication Henry Rugamba said the company will spend $180 million (Shs468 billion) on the exercise for which it is currently negotiating with international financial institutions to lend it money.
“Completion of the switch should be within three, latest four years. It will involve retrofitting [the old meters] as well as the connection of prepayment metres for new connections effective next year,” Mr Rugamba told the Daily Monitor on phone yesterday.
Prepayment would enable consumers to control their expenditure on electricity since Umeme will no longer be estimating their consumption and bills.
According to a 2012 survey by Makerere University’s Economic Policy Research Centre, seven in every 10 Ugandan electricity consumers prefer prepayment billing to post-payment.
With prepayment, the customers said, they would be in control of their power bills unlike today when they are at the mercy of some rogue Umeme officials.
Mr Rugamba, however, said the Grid Code presupposes post-paid billing. Therefore, for Umeme to connect all its customers to prepayment, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) would have to review the grid code so that it provides for both post-paid and pre-paid billing.
The company has, however, successfully piloted the prepayment metres in Kitintale and Nateete, suburbs in Kampala.
A 2011 study commissioned by ERA recommended the use of prepayment meters to reduce commercial theft of electricity.