FORT PORTAL – Uganda’s Tourism Fort Portal City is now assured of more reliable electricity supply after power distributor Umeme sinking investments in network improvement, building switching stations and installing new transformers in the area.
Selestino Babungi, the managing director, told stakeholders during the opening of the $200,000 state-of-the-art new regional service centre over the weekend that the company was moving ahead of the electricity demand in the region to create opportunities.
“Fort Portal and this region as whole, has so many opportunities as a new city which require building infrastructure to support the growth. We have gone ahead to work with key stakeholders to extend electricity lines to the area to create quality and reliable supply,” he said.
Babungi explained that to achieve reliability, the utility had invested in switching stations in Kibiito, Rugendabara and Hima as well as integration lines to support evacuation of power generated from 14 independent producers with over 120 MW installed capacity in the greater Rwenzori Region.
“In the past five years, Umeme has expanded the distribution network in Tooro, installed up to 400 transformers which propelled energy demand by about 25%,” he disclosed.
Alex Ruhunda, the Member of Parliament for Fort Portal Central Division, said the Government had supported electrification of the area for the past 10 years and positive results are visible.
“We are glad that at least 90% of Fort Portal is covered with the electricity network and it is just a small part of the Northern side of the City that we need to concentrate on. Electricity is key for us as a Tourism City and it will help to support health services, education specifically Mountain of Moon University and the Stadium amongst others,” he said.
Florence Nsubuga, Umeme’s Chief Operating Officer, said the company was investigating heavily in human resource and systems to meet the new service standards and energy demands of the Country.
“In Tooro Region, we have enhanced power quality and reliability by establishing an 80 MVA UETCL Substation in Kiko and constructing the related integration lines-Kijura, Rugombe and Kitumba which greatly reduced outage duration from 520 to 20 Hours, outage frequency from 207 to 17 per customer per year,” Nsubuga said.
She however decried the increasing power theft and vandalism in the area causing up to 15% loss in energy.
“We appeal to the community to apply for power through proper channels. Power theft has many bad outcomes including loss of property and life,” Nsubuga added.
In addition to the 48 Service Centres across its footprint, Umeme is now promoting self-service models for customers through digital platforms like the Umeme App, Social Media outlets and the Contact Centre.