Positioned in the middle of the beautiful Rwenzori Mountains, 31 March 2021 at Bundibugyo local government grounds, UEDCL officially received the rights to distribute power in the Bundibugyo, Ntoroko & Kabarole districts.
“As we take on this new responsibility, digitizing services in this territory is prime on our agenda”, Said, Paul Mwesigwa – MD UEDCL, who added that UEDCL will imitate experience in operating the grid in areas of Kisoro, Muhanga, and Rukungiri that have the same geographical features.
The asset handover ceremony was organized under MoH SoPs attracting district leaders, local government heads, and the community to witness Rural Electrification Agency (REA) handing over distribution assets to UEDCL. The assets for the last 10 years have been operated by the Bundibugyo Energy Cooperative Society (BECS).
“The Authority last year 2020 made an informed decision not to renew BECS’ license after they expressed interest”, Said, Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Wako, who added that power blackouts, corruption, failure to meet financial obligations of UETCL & poor governance were among the many factors, ERA considered not renewing the license of this distributor.
Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Wako, added that the Authority as per the 1999 Electricity Act has appointed UEDCL, as the distributor of last resort to carry on the electricity supply business in the Rwenzori Service Territory.
Eng. Ziria confirmed that UEDCL has got a wealth of experience in power distribution, with another advantage, being 100% government-owned.
“We shall retrieve the distribution license from UEDCL should they not follow the terms of reference for the license they’ve been given” Said, Eng. Ziria.
Uganda electricity distribution company limited is the second-largest electricity distributor in Uganda. Its mandate as enshrined in the 1999 electricity Act is to own all the 33kV assets and below. Through government initiative to attract foreign direct capital in the electricity sector, its assets were leased to Umeme in a 20-year concession. At the preamble, its mandate was to monitor & supervise the Lease and Assignment Agreement (LAA) & to supply power in the off-grid stations of Moyo, Adjumani & Moroto. These have since been connected to the national grid through rural electricity intensification schemes under REA.
According to Paul Mwesigwa – UEDCL MD, the company currently operates 8 service territories covering Uganda from border to border. Paul further emphasized that the company has successfully been able to take over the former Ferdisult territories and has since turned them around. UEDCL customer base with the addition of Rwenzori Service Territory will hit 96,000 which number is expected to grow after the resumption of the free electricity connection policy.
“Government considers electricity as a key driver to socio-economic development as amplified in NDP III & NRM manifesto 2021-2026”, Said, Eng. Cecilia Menya, who represented the Hon. Dr. Mary Kitutu- Minister of Energy & Mineral Development. Eng. Cecilia thanked BECS for the services rendered to the people of Budibugyo, Ntoroko & Kabarole for the last 10 years. The Ministry of Energy pledged to support the new distributor UEDCL to ensure the realization of the government agenda of powering rural communities.
“We shall before the end of April 2021 migrate customers with STS meter to our central mobile vending system,” Said, Paul Mwesigwa-UEDCL MD while addressing the Presser. If this happens as planned, the move will save the transport of hundreds of customers who have been moving long distances to go and pay for energy. Paul, with a lot of enthusiasm, informed the public, that customers only visit UEDCL offices once when they’re returning electricity application forms, the rest of the services accessible via mobile platforms including vending, inquiries, and reporting faults.