In Uganda, the Chinese information and communications technology solutions provider Huawei Technologies is set to install new batteries and complete maintenance work on Kampala's solar streetlights by the end of this month.
The maintenance work is scheduled for completion by 29 July 2015 for the 98 solar streetlights installed by Huawei Technologies Uganda along Kabaka Anjagala Road, Usafi Car Park, Nsambya Road, Mbogo Road and State House Close, reported CIO East Africa.
Stanley Chyn, managing director of Huawei Uganda said: "Maintenance works began two months back with a trouble-shooting process, we have already started replacing the lights with new batteries which are being monitored every day from 7:15pm to 5:00am."
He added that: "Our maintenance works are part of the extended warranty period to KCCA [Kampala Capity City Authority] to enable us [to] address the solar streetlights diligently."
Solar streetlights donation
The solar streetlights were officially handed over to KCCA in July last year through a donation by the Republic of China’s government.
The donation was as a result of notes signed by the Chinese and Ugandan governments in 2012 on the initiation of a demonstration project for solar streetlights.
Return on investment
In other news from Uganda, the East African Business Week reported that the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) received Ush4.5bn ($1.3m) from the power distributor, Umeme Limited, as gross dividends for its shareholding in the company.
Richard Byarugaba, the Managing Director of NSSF, said last week that: "The numbers tell the story; we invested a total of Ush70.2bn ($20m) in Umeme and have so far received Ush13.6bn ($3.9m) as dividends.
“As of June 30, the capital gains stood at Ush44.5bn ($12.8m) and the total value of our investment at Ush114.7bn ($33.1m). By any measure, a 83% return since we invested in Umeme is outstanding.”
NSSF is the third largest institutional investor behind South African-based Investec Funds and UK-based Actis in the electricity distributor.
Last year, NSSF bought an additional 100 million shares in the company, which increased its stake to 14.27%.
The Umeme Managing Director, Selestino Babungi said, the energy sector still has considerable potential.
"Only 15% of Ugandans are covered by the national grid. Umeme will improve electricity access in tandem with the government's vision to have up to 40% of the country covered by 2040. This will require heavy investments in infrastructure development, technology innovations, human resources and top-notch customer care services which will ultimately ensure good shareholder value", Babungi said.
Electricity utility’s performance
Umeme's performance in 2014 was underpinned by capital investments, increase in sales and improved performance against regulatory targets.
Babungi repeated the company's commitment to bringing energy losses down further having achieved 18.7% in 2015 from last year's 21.3% and investment in appropriate technology to improve customer service delivery.
"We have converted over 30% of our total customers to the payments metering system and we have commenced upcountry conversions across the country since October 2014.
"We want to thank all the investors in the company, individuals and privates who bought shares in Umeme Limited right from the initial public offering and over the last couple of years as they recognised the opportunity for what it is", he said.
Editor's note: ESI Africa Issue 2-2015 interviews former COO and now Executive Director of Umeme, Florence Nsubuga