Press Releases

Press release: Umeme Kicks Off a Global Partnership Pilot to Identify New Approaches to Clean Energy Access in Uganda

Kampala, March 3, 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” 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

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.

About Umeme

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 and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

Media Contacts:
Benson Kibiti, , +254 720 658 597
David Birungi, , +256 772 301 145
Eric GAY, The Rockefeller Foundation, , +1 212 852 8378