Umeme to connect 300,000 homes on prepaid billing by December

Wednesday May 1 2019

A Yaka subscriber loads prepaid power. FILE

A Yaka subscriber loads prepaid power. FILE PHOTO 

By Christine Kasemiire

Kampala. Umeme expects to move more 277,000 households to prepaid electricity billing before December.
December as a way to reduce commercial energy losses.
“We plan to convert the remaining 277,000 post-paid customers to prepayment by the end of 2020,” the electricity distributor said through its 2018 annual report, which is to be presented to the shareholders during the annual general meeting due in Kampala on May 9.
Currently, the report indicates, about 950,000 of Umeme’s domestic customers, who at least accounted for 24 per cent of Umeme’s 2017 revenue, are on prepay billing.

The conversion will be conducted together with the free Electricity Connections Policy (ECP), through which government seeks to increase access to electricity from 26 per cent to 60 per cent by 2027.
The move also seeks to at least attain 31 per cent of new connections off the grid from providers such as Kilembe Investments, Kalangala Infrastructure Services and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited while Umeme connects the balance of 77 per cent.
The prepayment metering system, which started in 2011 after a one year pilot scheme at the Kitintale Umeme District office, allows electricity consumers to pay for power upfront.

In its seven year cycle of the concession, Umeme achieved 99 per cent of revenue collected which the company said is essential to the cash flow in the electricity sector.
Umeme has also seen default rates fall by almost 90 per cent with some defaults registered in government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
At least, 407 MDAs of the 496 MDAs were converted to the prepaid system indicating an 86 per cent conversion rate by end of December which has contributed to improving the electricity sector’s revenue collection.

Yaka enables a customer to make upfront payment for their electricity. In its early days, the system faced criticism with some customers saying it was expensive compared to the traditional postpaid system.