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UMEME: Power consumption increased by 9% in 2018

 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Electricity consumption in Uganda increased by 9.1 per cent in 2018, according to Umeme, the country’s major power service provider.

According to Umeme’s financial results for 2018 published Monday,  the electricity distributers sold 3,011 Gigawatt hours of electricity from the 2017 out-turn of 2,760 Gigawatt hours,

Umeme’s Managing Director Selestino Babungi says the increase was largely driven by industrial consumers.

According to Babungi, the industrial sector that consumes almost 70 per cent of electricity recorded an average growth of 12 per cent during the year, supported by the underlying positive economic fundamentals in Uganda and the East African region.

Babungi said that electricity consumption went up as industrial production increased due to the high demand for products and the opening of more industries in the country. Umeme is hopeful that the demand will increase by a higher margin in 2019.

Umeme’s revenue also increased to sh1.6 trillion in 2018 from sh1.49 trillion, recorded in 2017. The company says growth in electricity sales was driven by increased demand and tariff applicable during the year.

The company paid Sh1.1 trillion to Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) for the electricity they bought and sh135 billion to Uganda Revenue Authority in both direct and indirect taxes. The company also invested sj231 billion Shillings in the distribution network.

Babungi says the customer connection to the grid, increased by 14.8 per cent to 1.3 million customers compared to 2017. He says over the 7-year period to 2018, Umeme exceeded the regulatory customer base target by 0.3 million customers (30 per cent). Umeme was expected to have a customer base of one million at the end of 2018.

Umeme also reduced energy losses to 16.6 per cent compared to 17.2 per cent for 2017. The loss reduction is attributed to increased use of prepaid metering and increased operational efficiency.

Uganda’s installed generation capacity increased to 1,167 megawatts after commissioning of Isimba Dam last week. It will further increase by 600 megawatts in December this year when Karuma Dam is commissioned. Umeme is confident that this electricity will be consumed by increasing industries and households that are being connected by the government through the free connection policy.

“In November 2018, the government launched the Electricity Connections Policy, aimed at accelerating grid connections, through subsidization of the last mile capital costs. The government of Uganda target aims to add at least 300,000 consumers to the grid per annum,” Babungi said.

He further noted that Umeme has prioritized the implementation of this programme to increase access and unlock suppressed electricity demand. Umeme’s investment programme is focused on building and strengthening the distribution backbone to cope with the increased grid connections.

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