In this episode of the Power for All podcast, Matuba Mahlatjie speaks with Florence Nsubuga, a Ugandan Corporate Executive and mentor with Project Girls for Girls, a voluntary global initiative aimed at empowering young girls to lead in their communities. Since 2012, Florence has served as the Chief Operations Officer at Uganda’s power utility, Umeme. Their discussion focused on Power for All's first-of-its-kind partnership in Uganda, the Utilities 2.0 project which has ushered a diversified approach to accelerate energy access in the country. Nsbuga reflects on how Umeme is committed to improving customer service through innovations and the power of collaboration to achieve universal energy access in Uganda.
Ending energy poverty faster: Umeme's strategy to end energy poverty is in alignment with the country's plans and vision. According to the World Bank, it would take over 10 million customers in Uganda to achieve universal access, given the population growth rate now at around 3%. In order to achieve the targets there is a need for introducing innovative ways to scale up energy access. The Utilities 2.0 project has the potential to revolutionize electrification in economies that are still grappling with energy poverty.
Giving a customer-centric service: Thinking ahead of the customer, and using a customer-centric approach, Umeme continues to innovate to provide the best customer service. For example, the customers have an automated application process to access electricity and maintenance support. Further, working with private sector mini-grids can act as frontrunners to the grid, providing early access, and developing the customer through appliance financing. Under the Utilities 2.0. Project also named Twaake project, the customer lifetime value has grown about four times as fast as the traditional way of connecting customers.
Importance of collaboration: Speaking of collaboration, for the past twelve months, Umeme has collaborated with Power for All, Equatorial Power and East Africa Power. This has been an Integral part of implementing the Utilities 2.0 project to accelerate access to affordable energy by peri- urban communities. The collaboration with the mini-grid improved project acceptability and reduced the overall project cost.