While Umeme’s social media sites have been hailed as some of the most interactive and helpful, it is common for complaints lodged to be followed by complaints of delays in handling the situation. Most of the complaints to Umeme are about unexplained power outages.
Utility companies have been challenged to put in place
quick response systems towards consumer complaints. The call by State Minister for Energy Simon D’Ujanga came after numerous complaints about the slow response of service providers, mainly Umeme, whenever there is a supply failure or any other concern from the public.
While Umeme’s social media sites
have been hailed as some of the most interactive and helpful, it is common for
complaints lodged to be followed by complaints of delays in handling the
situation. Most of the complaints to Umeme are
about unexplained power outages.
D’Ujanga says that while
Umeme replies almost promptly to the online complaints, complainants get more frustrated when the issue persists for longer, especially without an
update on what the company is doing. He was commenting on Umeme’s
upgraded digital system that enables the whole connection application
process to be done online, using either a smartphone or a computer.
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The digital system is
accessible on the Umeme app on a smartphone or on the portal myUmemeOnline,
on the Umeme website. Umeme
says that apart from improving efficiency, the system will help eliminate
middlemen who allegedly take advantage of the prospective customers do not have information or have no time to process documents.
Operations Officer, Florence Nsubuga said the digital innovations will go a long way in cutting the response time. Currently, the system that is being
developed will be enabled by the global positioning system (GPS) technology so
that if a fault is reported by a consumer, the UMEME
office will be able to immediately locate the spot where the fault is.
The idea is also to have a fault
responded to by the staff of Umeme who will be nearest to the spot at that
However, Nsubuga says the system
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Umeme Managing Director Selestino Babungi says that middlemen drive the cost of services to the consumers up, yet they are not commissioned by either government
or Umeme. The
company says it is improving the system to include those who do not have
says these innovations are also in preparation for the expected sharp increase
in demand for electricity connections as the economy rebounds. The
expected demand is also based on the transmission (evacuation) projects that
are being carried out to deliver power from the generation plants to closure to
residences and industries.
D’Ujanga says so far five industrial parks have been connected with the transmission
lines and more will be connected, while they have also launched a program to
connect power to the remaining sub-counties around the country. He says that his will help increase the demand for power and lead to a reduction in the costs of electricity
since more of the generated power will be consumed.
The government has also put in place a special credit facility for those households
who need power but do not have enough money to pay for the house wiring, while
those with small houses that need only a bulb and a socket, will not be charged
for wiring. The
Minister hopes that all these, on top of the Electricity Connection Policy
which provides free connection services, will boost demand for energy in a few