Umeme invests Shs1b to increase power reliability

Saturday May 23 2020



Power distributor Umeme will sink $346,349 (Shs1.3b) in the Gayaza and Kawempe lines to reduce the frequency and duration of blackouts in the two suburbs, the power supplier has said.

The money will buy thicker cables through which a higher volume of electricity can easily flow without much of it being lost as heat.

It will also cover the cost of switching devices, a news statement quoting Mr Milton Edimu, the Umeme manager for asset planning and design, said.

According to Umeme, during the peak hours (6am to midnight), the lines which serve the more than 2, 300 customers in the two environs are strained, thus compromising the reliability and consumption of power.

“Through the Kampala Central Business District network optimisation plan, we will upgrade the Gayaza and Kawempe lines to manage the loads. Additionally, we will install specialised equipment at different points to link the feeders with other less loaded lines,” Mr Edimu said.

He added: “Significant improvement will be noted in reliability of the lines due to the impact of the project. The number of outages will significantly reduce and ensure Umeme keeps the lights on.”
According to a document, the outage hours in either suburbs will reduce by 50 per cent.


When there is reliable power, small businesses can engage in services such as mobile phone charging and selling cold beverages whereas households check their use on kerosene for lighting at night.

Mr Edimu said Umeme is in the course of procuring a contractor to do the work which will be completed within three months.

He added that since Uganda’s installed power generation capacity has increased from 866.4MW in 2014 to 1, 246MW as of 2019, according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority, focus is turning to the transmission and distribution segments.

Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited is building lines from the upcoming generation plants to substations scattered around Uganda.

In the same vein, it has either refurbished old lines as is the case for the Tororo-Lira line, or is extending old ones to many centres.

For the distribution companies such as Umeme and Uganda Electricity Distribution Company, he said focus now is on ensuring there is reliable power as well as connecting more eligible applicants to the grid.

The Kampala Central Business District Power Network Optimisation Plan is one of the many Umeme will be implementing soon, the plans show.