Umeme Yaka system fails, leaves consumers stranded
Uganda’s prepaid electricity billing system, Umeme Yaka, failed for at least four days, leaving many customers stranded with no power.
Ms Maria Nantongo a baker in Kampala told the Daily Monitor Thursday she had bought Yaka through her mobile money account on Sunday but was yet to receive her token by Thursday evening.
“On Sunday, I bought Yaka through my mobile money account but the token failed to come. I waited for hours in vain. I had cakes to deliver but I could not make any because I had no power,” she said, wondering why Umeme had not come out to explain the failure.
However, on Wednesday, Umeme had published a brief statement on its social media pages, informing customers of a technical glitch that would be resolved “as quickly as possible”.
“We are experiencing intermittent service interruptions when vending Yaka tokens. Our technical teams are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” the statement reads.
However, by Thursday, a number of customers were still facing similar problem.
Mr Ian Ruyonga, a resident of Konge in Makindye Division, said he had given up to fate after buying Yaka on Monday but had not received the token by Thursday.
“For three days, I have not had power. It is absurd. I wish they [Umeme] had told us they had issues before hand,” he said.
Mr Sandor Walusimbi, the Umeme head of communication and marketing, told the Daily Monitor they had experienced a system overload that had slowed down the process of buying tokens.
“There was a slowdown in token buying but it has started to ease and we expect that by the end of day [Thursday] all shall be good,” he said.
Commenting on the matter, Mr Shaban Sserunkuuma, the director of programmes at Consumer Protection Education Trust, said this was unfortunate and absurd.
“A service provider must endeavour to have interventions in case such a problem occurs. Right now it appears it is a try and error process. This does not augur well, especially to the customers who are making losses,” Mr Sserunkuuma said, urging the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to institute standards and penalties.
When contacted, Ms Diana Naisuna, the ERA Principal Communication Officer asked us to send an email but she had not replied to the email by press time.