UMEME Cuts Power Losses

Electricity Distributors UMEME have cut down the loss of energy from 35 percent in July 2009 to 31 percent in March 2010.

Hillary Onek, Minister of Energy attributes the loss reduction to new strategies introduced by the power distributors.

Onek says that despite the fact the energy loss reduction is still lower than what is provided for in the concession agreement with UMEME, the reduction has a positive financial implication.

The concession agreement provides for 28 percent energy loss reduction.

Onek says that a mere 1 percent reduction in energy loss reduction saves consumers over 1 billion shillings each year.

In 2005, UMEME signed a 7-year contract with government to manage electricity distribution across the country. The terms of the concession are to be reviewed next year.

Engineer Onek says the review is an opportune moment for the government to negotiate for better terms that could end the UMEME's monopoly.

// Cue "When we are going to negotiate

Cue out... in our mind"//

Umeme Head of Corporate Communication, Charlotte Kemgyisha says that the energy loss could be much higher if they can eliminate power theft.

She says power consumers change tactics each time UMEME introduces new tactics to beat power thefts.

Government currently pays up to 92 billion shilling a year to subsidize Umeme in order to lower customer charges to cover the distribution losses.