Power distributor Umeme has announced significant business recovery over the last one year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to its financial statement, Umeme’s revenues increased by 9.3% to Shs928 billion in the six months ended June 2021, compared to the Shs849 billion for the same six month-period in 2020.

The growth is attributed to increased electricity demand across all consumer categories following reduced restrictions after the 1st wave of COVID-19.

And net profit more than doubled from Shs21.8 billion to Shs48.2 billion over the same period compared to Shs21.8 billion in the interim period to June 2020.

The company reports increased revenue collection levels from 93.3 percent in the first half of last year to 99.1% in the six months ended June 2021, saying this has enabled the sector reduce reliance on government resources.

“Collection of billed electricity revenues is fundamental for the sustainability of the electricity supply industry, growth, and overall service delivery to our customers. The cash-flows enable the generation, transmission and distribution companies to meet their operating and investment obligations, without constraining the government’s fiscal resources,” the statements say.

But this improvement also comes amidst higher energy losses which are attributed to reduced surveillance during the lockdown periods. “Energy losses for the six months were 17.9% compared to 17.5% for 2020. The Covid-19 restrictions impacted our ability to execute our loss reduction programme during the period. We continue to note with concern the increased tendency of tampering and vandalising electricity infrastructure, including metering installations by some unscrupulous members of the public,” says Umeme.

They add that with the support of the Uganda Police Force, they have resumed the field operations. The company says it is getting back to its normal operations as the economic activities also pick up, including connecting new customers.

“We aim to clear the 87,500 connections by November 2021 as the government mobilises additional financing for the rest of the backlog that totaled 210,000 when the policy was suspended.” According to records, there are now 1,530,733 customers in total, of which 29,733 are still under the post-paid system.

The plan is to have all the customer meters converted to Yaka by the end of the year. Industrial and commercial connections were 98 and 751 respectively. There was also overall increase in demand, as sales for the six months to 30 June 2021 increased by 11.8% to 1,720 GWh up from 1,538 GWh for the same period in 2020 when demand was subdued by effects of the stricter first lockdown.