There is one big electricity provider in Uganda, it is called Umeme. And it is not easy to deal with them. Every month someone from Umeme enters your compound and they read the meter. After some time, another person brings the bill, on which is written how much you have to pay. The bill is most of the time delivered after the payment date, but that doesn't matter. Most of the time, I wait till we have all the bills, from the two YWAM schools and from the two Amecet homes and I'll go to the Bank to pay them. Last month I paid all the bills on June 17th, only 5 days after receiving the bills. On June 20, I got the call from the Pre-school, that Umeme disconnected them, then one hour later I got a call from our Amun home, Umeme guys were there and they wanted to disconnect them. I said, to tell them that the bill was paid and all the receipts were in our office. The person, who called said, they do not want to listen.... So I told them not let them go (lock the gate or so) and I ran with the receipts to Amun home. I showed the men from Umeme the receipts and also the receipt from the Pre-school. Yes they remembered the school and sorry, sorry, we will connect them again. At least I was able to save Amun from disconnection. Two days later... still no power in the Pre-school. I went to Umeme office in town to report this. They told me they would fix it, they were sorry.... One week later, still no power in the Pre-school, again to the Umeme office, very, very sorry, they would go to the school and reconnect it. Two weeks later, still no power in the Pre-school... Again I went to the office and they told one of the men from Umeme, to go with me to fix it, their vehicle was not available. So here the picture from the man in the pole from the Pre school, to reconnect the electricity, after 3 weeks!!! After his action, he took off his climbing gear, stepped back in our car and I brought him back to their office.
I am a regular visitor in the Umeme office. 4 years ago we started the process of requesting electricity for our Primary school. The school is just outside Soroti and there was not yet electricity. We invited the community to also join in, so that we, as a group, were putting more weight behind the request. Everybody had to pay an amount to help buying the transformer. Our school got connected in December 2012!!! But the rest from the group not yet. Some YWAM staff is in that group, they live just a bit further than our YWAM school and I bought also some land up there, so I also paid into this group, for electricity. Now I have build my house, ready for the girls and me, but .......no electricity. Some of the people from the group got power, but for example my house, there is a need for 3 poles, and that is too much for Umeme. I have been talking, begging and nothing helped. The manager is very friendly and understanding, but she can't do much for me. The only thing I can do is to buy the poles myself, but that was not in my budget, they had promised that as a group we would receive electricity. This week I went already 4 times to their office, waiting for an invoice, how much 3 poles would be. Still I have no answer, maybe tomorrow??? The community will be happy then, if I buy the poles, they can just get the connection too!! Happy neighbours are also important!!
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