24e September 2021, Fortportal. Tourism Fort Portal City in Uganda is now assured of a more reliable electricity supply after electricity distributor Umeme invests in grid upgrades, construction of switching stations and installation of new transformers in the area .
Selestino Babungi, the managing director, told stakeholders at the opening of the new state-of-the-art $ 200,000 regional service center over the weekend that the company was anticipating demand for electricity in the region to create opportunities.
âFort Portal and this region as a whole have so many opportunities as a new city that require the construction of infrastructure to support growth. We have worked with key stakeholders to extend power lines in the region to create a reliable and quality supply, âhe said.
Babungi explained that to achieve reliability, the utility had invested in switching stations in Kibiito, Rugendabara and Hima as well as in integration lines to support the evacuation of electricity produced by 14 independent generators with a capacity installed over 120 MW in the greater Rwenzori region.
âOver the past five years, Umeme has extended the distribution network to Tooro, installed up to 400 transformers, which has propelled energy demand by around 25%,â he revealed.
Fort Portal Central Division MP Alex Ruhunda said the government has supported the electrification of the region for the past 10 years and positive results are visible.
âWe are happy that at least 90% of Fort Portal is covered by the electricity grid and this is only a small part of the north side of town that we need to focus on. Electricity is essential for us as a tourist city and it will help support health services, education, especially Mountain of Moon University and the stadium, among others, âhe said.
Florence Nsubuga, chief operating officer of Umeme, said the company is heavily investigating human resources and systems to meet new service standards and the country’s energy demands.
âIn the Tooro region, we have improved the quality and reliability of electricity by establishing an 80 MVA UETCL substation in Kiko and building the related integration lines – Kijura, Rugombe and Kitumba, which has Significantly reduced the duration of outages from 520 to 20 hours, the frequency of outages from 207 to 17 per customer per year, âsaid Nsubuga.
However, she denounced the increase in electricity theft and vandalism in the region causing up to 15% loss of energy.
âWe call on the community to demand power through the appropriate channels. Electricity theft has many negative effects, including loss of property and life, âNsubuga added.
In addition to the 48 service centers spread across its footprint, Umeme now promotes self-service models for customers through digital platforms such as the Umeme app, social media and the contact center.