Charles Chapman,
MD, Umeme
 
22 October 2009 – Ugandan electricity distributor, Umeme has installed a $5 million SCADA system which will provide the utility with full operational control of the distribution network.

“This will ensure improved customer service through constant updates to customers of fault restoration activities since the system will allow messages to be passed to the customer at various stages of restoration,” said Umeme MD, Charles Chapman.

“UMEME will be able to promptly respond and recify incidences of low voltage.

“The system allows quick and easy process to log calls which reduce the customer queue-time and few dropped calls.”

The new system, which allows for full customer management, will allow for more efficient and accurate communications between Umeme and its customers.

Energy minister, Hilary Onek, who was at the launch of the system in Kamapal, advised the utility to invest in pre-payment meters.  

He said further that the Government “will work very hard together with utility firms to increase power delivery, affordability, effectiveness and efficiency.”

“If we have electricity covered in various parts of the country, it will help power the cottage industry that will provide jobs for our youth who are now concentrated in urban centres looking for jobs,” he continued, adding that the Government’s aim was to increase electrification to 17%, up from the current 10%

Speaking at the launch, new Umeme chairman, Patrick Bitature, told those assembled:  “We have the common goal to bring down the losses so that we bring down the tariffs. SCADA will ensure safety,” he said.

“There has been reduction of technical losses and we have invested $67m in infrastructure to bring down losses from 40% to 33.5%.

Accordig to Bitature, emphasis would be continue to be placed on removing illegal connections and minimising meter tampering.

He said particular emphasis continued to be placed on removing illegally connected customers from the network and minimise metre tampering.

Bitature added that the procurement process for pre-payment metre system had commenced.

UMEME is owned by the Commonwealth Development Corporation of the United Kingdom and managed by the CDC Investment Fund.