Uganda's electricity sector is outperforming Kenya in managing its power grid and cutting electricity theft which saw it post lower system losses over the half year to June 2022.
Umeme, Uganda's power distributor, on August 22 said system losses for the half year stood at 17.1 per cent, an improvement from 17.9 per cent over a similar half last year.
System losses are the difference between the total amount of energy bought and the amount sold to consumers. They occur during transmission and theft by consumers through illegal activities such as meter tampering which is sometimes aided by workers of the electricity distributor.
Back home, Kenya Power reported that system losses stood at 22.87 per cent over the half year to December 2021, translating to a system efficiency of 77.13 per cent. In this case, it meant a loss of about 23 units out of every hundred units that Kenya Power bought from electricity producers.
Umeme, which is cross-listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), noted that it registered a 33 per cent increase in profit owing to "a reduction in energy losses to 17.1 per cent as compared to 17.9 per cent for 2021, as power consumption in the domestic, medium and large industrial customer segments posted double-digit growth."
Despite the lower system losses compared to Kenya, Uganda appears to have lost the momentum it had gathered in the past year, having managed to reduce losses to 16.4 per cent in the year to December 2019.
Kenya on the other hand has in the recent past made progress and reduced losses to 22.87 per cent in the first half of the current financial year, from upwards of 25 per cent over the first half of the 2020-21 financial year. The lower system losses in Uganda could however be on account of a much smaller electricity sector when compared to Kenya's.
According to Umeme, power sales in Uganda stood at 1,875 gigawatt hours (GWh) - or 1.88 billion units. This is a fraction of what Kenya Power sold to Kenyan consumers in the half to December last year 4,562 GWh (4.56 billion units).