Umeme to invest Mbale City power network

Known for its increasing economic vitality fueled by industrialization and thriving Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs), Mbale City is set to undergo a comprehensive upgrade of its electricity network. The initiative, undertaken by Umeme Limited, Uganda’s largest electricity distribution company, aims to meet the growing demand for electricity and enhance the quality of supply for the city’s residents and businesses.

Commencing in June 2023, the extensive works to revamp Mbale City’s distribution network are projected to span a duration of four months. Johnson Okochi, Umeme’s Projects Investment Manager, highlighted the significance of this move, emphasizing that the upgrade would vastly improve reliability, addressing issues that have plagued the city’s electricity system for some time.

The ambitious undertaking, codenamed the Mbale City Growth and Quality of Supply Improvement project, comes with an estimated cost of $1,422,884 (approximately sh5.3b).

Peter Kaujju, Umeme’s Head of Communications and Marketing, expressed his enthusiasm for the renovation, noting that it would significantly support the government’s access agenda by enabling more individuals to connect to the network.

Kaujju assured customers that the works would be carried out expeditiously, aiming to provide them with a more reliable supply of electricity. With over 55,000 customers in Mbale City, the growing urban center demands steady and dependable power supply to sustain its development. Kaujju also highlighted the improved quality of supply that would accompany the upgrade, with multiple interconnection options available in the event of any faults.

One of the primary concerns is the outdated Mbale Ring feeder, which has been a frequent source of outages due to aged conductors. Additionally, the excessive length of the line, spanning 205 kilometers, has caused voltage drops and compromised the quality of supply. The feeder is also burdened by deteriorating poles and serves over 200 distribution transformers, further contributing to the subpar quality of supply. However, Okochi assured that these issues would soon be resolved, consigned to history upon completion of the revamp.

To enhance the city’s electricity infrastructure, Umeme plans to create a new Mbale Town feeder by splitting Mbale Ring 1 and refurbishing it along with two 11kV feeders. The remaining 11kV feeders throughout the city will be strengthened to accommodate load growth and create capacity for the independent power producers’ evacuations. Additionally, the project entails reinforcing and installing mesh feeders to facilitate load transfers between Ring 1, Ring 2, and Mbale Industrial feeders, optimizing the network and allowing for greater flexibility.

The works will also involve the division of the Mbale Ring 1 11kV feeder into two separate feeders: the Mbale Town 11kV feeder and the Ring 1 11kV feeder, among other refurbishment efforts. Okochi emphasized that these extensive improvements would result in an enhanced customer experience characterized by improved reliability, availability, and quality of power supply.

To facilitate the smooth execution of the project within the scheduled timeframe, planned outages will occur in the city on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. While acknowledging that intermittent supply disruptions may arise during the repair period, Kaujju appealed to customers for their patience, emphasizing the company’s commitment to delivering an exceptional and improved service experience.

Umeme Limited, the driving force behind this crucial renovation, is Uganda’s premier electricity distribution company

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