Power companies in Uganda to test win-win-win business models that accelerate electricity access while benefiting utilities, private sector service companies, and energy-poor consumers
Kampala, March 2, 2020 - Today, Umeme Limited, Makerere University, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Power for All –a global charity dedicated to accelerating the end of energy poverty–and a coalition of energy companies launched an integrated energy pilot to test new ways of accelerating energy access, stimulating customer demand and improving grid performance in Uganda that will primarily benefit poor and rural areas.
The coalition, known as Utilities 2.0, has named the pilot “Twaake” (or “Let’s light” in Luganda).
The pilot areas include Kiwumu, Nyenge and Namasumbi villages in Mukono District. The pilot will establish whether appliance financing can accelerate the productive use of electricity as well as establish whether the integration of utility operations with distributed renewable generation (DRE) can create more economically viable connections, faster.
The pilot is designed to support Uganda to achieve universal energy access before 2040. Today, one-fourth of Ugandans have energy access with poor and rural areas suffering the biggest shortages. Simultaneously, energy off-take has failed to keep pace with Uganda’s generation growth, leading to increased pressure to stimulate energy demand across the country, to ensure profitability and long-term sustainable demand growth. Based on grid economics across Africa, traditional grid extension can’t solve these pressures alone.
“Umeme is committed to exploring new ideas, approaches, and technologies that can deliver value to our customers and the public. We believe that this pilot will reveal new ways in which we can deliver on our mandate and support the government agenda of accelerating access to clean energy,” said Umeme CEO Selestino Babungi.
“For too long centralized grid-based utilities and decentralized renewable energy companies have worked in silos,” said Power for All’s CEO Kristina Skierka. “Neither traditional utilities nor DRE providers can end energy poverty alone. By working together, we can leverage comparative strengths and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7).”
In addition to Umeme, the Utilities 2.0 Uganda pilot involves several private sector companies, including Fenix International, East African Power (EAP), Equatorial Power, EnerGrow, and NxtGrid/ZOLA Electric.
The work is being funded by The Rockefeller Foundation as part of its Power Imitative to end energy poverty.
“This pilot is an important demonstration of how utilities can integrate distributed energy technologies into their service areas,” said Clare Boland Ross, Managing Director of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Power Initiative. “We need to see more pilots like Twaake that can help other progressive governments, incumbent utilities and off-grid companies explore an integrated electrification approach, advancing a blend of grid-extension and off-grid electrification, which can help serve the needs of poor and rural areas.”
Power for All will provide regular updates on the progress of the Uganda demonstration, and also expects to expand the initiative to other countries with like-minded utilities. If you are interested in joining the Utilities 2.0 consortium, please email
For more information, please visit powerforall.org/campaigns/utilities
Note to Editors:
A report of the Utilities 2.0: Integrated Energy for Optimal Impact is also available for download.
About Power for All
Power for All is a global coalition campaigning to accelerate the end of energy poverty by scaling distributed renewable energy solutions. The campaign represents more than 300 business, finance, and civil society organizations focused on decentralized renewables, including household and business solar, mini-grids and productive use appliances.
Umeme Limited is Uganda’s leading electricity Distribution Company, listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and cross-listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange. The Company operates a 20-year electricity distribution concession that started in March 2005. Umeme is mandated to operate, maintain and upgrade of electricity distribution infrastructure, electricity retail and provision of related services.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.