UMEME partners with DataCol in Uganda
UMEME partners with DataCol to upgrade national electricity distribution meter data collection systems
Christchurch, 30 September 2013.
DataCol has been chosen by Umeme which is one of Africa’s largest and Uganda’s sole power distributor, for deployment of its advanced meter reading solution to improve the customer experience – SevenX, a meter data collection and data management tool.
“This is a cost effective solution for the fast developing nation’s electricity infrastructure that facilitates accuracy and transparency of operations. It will substantially improve customer service, revenue collection and the meter reading and billing process”, said Mr Ronald Kawaddwa, the Metering Services Manager/Project Manager at Umeme.
“Umeme is making significant investment in Uganda’s electricity infrastructure and was looking to partner with experienced ICT brands to assist in the advancement of customer centric initiatives. After a transparent and public selection process in conformity with the Umeme Financial and Business processes procedures, our internationally recognised product, SevenX was selected as the compatible and effective solution.”, says Bruce Franks, CEO of DataCol Group.
CEO Bruce Franks says SevenX will improve the efficiency of meter reading operations across Uganda and that this engagement presents a giant leap over the company’s previous paper based systems that were inefficient and costly. Losses due to data capture errors and pilferage/theft will be reduced resulting in improved cash flow for the recently cross listed public company for the benefit of all stakeholders which include staff and customers. Also significantly raising UMEME’s capabilities in terms of visibility, service delivery and customer service.”
Umeme Limited delivers electricity to urban as well as remote rural areas. The advanced features provided by SevenX are set to improve functional capability of the current OICS (Open Integrated Customer Service system) between the customer and service centres and the quality of collected data.
SevenX has been able to deliver a tailored solution that is perfectly suited for this market as opposed to ill-fitting and pre-defined solutions many other vendors try to install in a developing market like this one.
The success of this engagement and partnership with the UMEME team, who have been very open to suggestions and ideas, is an indication of better things to come.
“It’s been a fascinating experience and the knowledge and understanding we’ve gained from this engagement has set us up for many more opportunities in the African continent”, says Mr Franks.
DataCol brings years of experience in water, gas, electricity and agricultural sectors and has been chosen as the preferred supplier by a number of private and public organisations across Australia and New Zealand. It is this combined experience which sets it apart from its competitors.
“A number of vendors from across the world pitched for the contract, but Umeme selected DataCol on the basis of its proven ability to deliver customised solutions and the accuracy and transparency brought in by the SevenX system”, concludes Mr Franks.
Umeme is the largest electricity distribution company in Uganda. It is owned by Actis, the emerging markets private equity firm with a total of USD$5bn funds under its management. As an electricity distributor, Umeme is mandated to:
· Operate, maintain, upgrade and expand the
• · Retail electricity to its customers
• · Improve efficiency within the electricity distribution system
Since commencement of its operations in 2005, the company has invested over USD134m in the distribution system, increased the customer base from 250,000 to about 460,000 customers, reduced energy losses from over 38% to 27% and increased revenue collections from 75% to over 98% by December 2011. Umeme directly employs over 1,300 staff.
Umeme’s 2011 annual report reflected a 32 per
cent growth in earnings before Interest Taxation
Depreciation & Amortization (EBITDA) before exchange
differences of UGX 103.6 billion, up from UGX 71.2 billion
in 2010. Profits before tax grew from UGX 6.4 billion in
2010 to UGX 44.6 billion in 2011.
For more details about Umeme, visit: www.umeme.co.ug
DataCol is a Christchurch, New Zealand – based company that helps organisations, utilities and councils collect, manage and present meter consumption data. DataCol has a history of providing products and services that help utilities improve their metering, and now offers similar services in the primary processing sector to monitor water and other natural resource use.
Established in 1999, DataCol has over 200 employees and contractors and gained widespread recognition for its service commitment and levels of innovation.
A fully owned subsidiary of New Zealand energy distribution company Electra, DataCol has offices in New Zealand and Australia. The Electra Group’s turnover is around $74 million with total assets of $261 million.
DataCol is also a finalist in the 2013 Champion Canterbury Business Awards, under the Champion Producer/Manufacturer (Medium/Large Enterprise) category; which recognises innovative primary production/agribusiness, through to sophisticated, high end manufacturing.