35% of Umeme electricity meters cheat consumers — UNBS

Research by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has revealed that 35% of the electricity meters used by industrialists and large commercial set-ups are inaccurate and susceptible to cheating manufacturers.

The research, conducted during the 2017- 2018 financial year, also indicates that 15% of meters used by domestic consumers were inaccurate and susceptible to cheating customers.

The quality standards body came up with the figures after verifying 144,471 meters against a target of 100,000 meters.

UNBS executive director Dr Ben Manyindo made the revelation while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala yesterday.

Stephen illungole said much as Umeme distributes more than 95% of the electricity on the national grid, there are other power distributors.

They are Kilembe Investments Limited, Bundibugyo Energy Co-operative Society, Pader Abim Community Multi-Purpose Electric Co-operative Society Limited, Kalangala Infrastructure Services, West Nile Rural Electrification Company and Kyegegwa Rural Electricity Co-operative Society (KRECS).

“Last year they gave us a similar report without telling us the distributors who have faulty meters. The report is incomplete,” Ilungole argued.

He said all Umeme meters are subject to UNBS inspection and certification prior to importation and Umeme installed meters passed the pre-export verification of conformity (PVoC) requirements.

He said last week Umeme submitted to UNBS 60,000 meters for inspection and testing with 30,000 meters having been tested and inspected so far and passed.

“All eyes are on UMEME because we are the biggest power distributor while the small ones are getting away with it,” he said.

When contacted, the UNBS communication officer, Godwin Muhwezi Bongye, did not name companies with faulty meters, saying it is an issue of non-compliance.

“The law requires that before a power distributor installs an electricity meter, they need to bring UNBS on board for verification,” Bongye said.