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UMEME Logo - Polesaver Sleeve Case Studies

CASE STUDY

UMEME

Umeme partnered with Polesaver in 2017 with the objective of improving network reliability in severe ground conditions where the average pole life was just 8-10 years.

See how we fulfilled their objectives below

Challenges

Location

Uganda

Customers

1.5 Million

Distribution Network

37,000km

Umeme Limited is Uganda’s main electricity distribution company with 37,352km of network distribution lines servicing more than 1.5 million domestic and commercial customers. Based in the capital city of Kampala, it’s 1619 employees work to distribute 97% of Uganda’s electricity supply. 

In Africa, Umeme sees severe ground conditions that result in an average pole life of just 8-10 years with a pole replacement rate of 72,000 poles per year.

High average temperatures combined with damp ground conditions and regular rainfall create the ideal conditions for wood decay and termite attack. This produces decay rates that can be up to five times greater than those seen in Northern Europe and North America, significantly impacting pole maintenance and replacement costs.  

According to Dan Tumuhimbise, Umeme Engineering Service Manager, ‘Decay and termites are the biggest enemies to our pole longevity, accounting for nearly 95% of all Umeme wooden pole failures.’ He said, ‘The high decay rate had forced the Government in 2017 to consider using concrete poles in place of wooden ones to save on costs and improve distribution efficiency. However, wooden poles are easier to monitor and fix, and easier to move so it makes sense to continue using them if we have a method of preserving them’. 

Solution

Priorities for Umeme included a reduction of power outages, and improving distribution efficiency and supply reliability. To address these priorities, Polesaver worked closely with Umeme to understand their specific challenges and educate them on the causes of, and protection from ground line decay in their wooden poles.

By utilizing the patented Polesaver sleeves, Umeme’s utility network would benefit from a substantial extension of the life of their poles with an expected life of 40 years or more, protecting the quality of service to its customers. 

In 2017, Umeme adopted the Polesaver ground line decay prevention sleeve technology and began a comprehensive training program.

More than 50 installation engineers attended a two-day training session at its headquarters in Kampala, Uganda. The purpose of the training was to demonstrate the correct method of applying a Polesaver sleeve to wooden utility poles.  

A practical demonstration was given by Polesaver representative, Peter Williams, in Umeme’s pole yard on how to correctly apply Polesaver sleeves to poles. During the course of the training, each delegate was given the opportunity to apply several Polesaver sleeves and at the end of the day each person was assessed and presented with a certificate of competence. 

Mr. Kevin Bwire, Umeme Network Asset Information Manager, was excited about the RFID technology incorporated into the Polesaver sleeves saying, ‘This will enable Umeme to map out and manage its pole network more effectively.’ The RFID technology enables companies to identify the exact GPS location of each pole in its network.  Also, additional information can be assigned to the company’s database, for example, date of installation, who supplied the pole, type of preservative used and schedule of future inspections. Photographs of the pole can also be uploaded to the company’s asset tracking database, to enable engineers to track the condition of each pole in its network.  

Results

Sleeves Fitted

240,000+

Yearly Cost Savings

$14 Million

Polesaver Is Now

Standard Fit

Umeme began a national roll out of the Polesaver solution in June 2017. Since then, all poles installed by Umeme have been fitted with Polesaver ground line barrier sleeves.

More than 350 contractors have undergone extensive training in Polesaver’s unique pole saving technologies and the business has adopted a solution that now delivers improved network reliability and significant cost savings of $14 million/year. 

Dan Tumuhimbise explained, ‘Using Polesaver sleeves aligns extremely well with Umeme’s core values of Safety, Customer Service and Innovation’. Furthermore, he said ‘Umeme are always looking for better ways to do things, and by adopting Polesaver sleeves, this clearly shows that Umeme are embracing new technology. Wooden utility poles with Polesaver applied, will be safer and the electrical networks they support will be more reliable, thus leading to better customer service and reduced costs’ 

Polesaver Sleeve shown applied to a pole in the ground
Product

Polesaver Sleeve

Polesaver ground-line barrier sleeves are a dual-layer, high-performance sleeve that prevents ground rot in wooden utility poles. Polesaver Sleeves are guaranteed for 50 years.

Learn More
Polesaver Sleeve shown applied to a pole in the ground
Product

Polesaver Sleeve

Polesaver ground-line barrier sleeves are a dual-layer, high-performance sleeve that prevents ground rot in wooden utility poles. Polesaver Sleeves are guaranteed for 50 years.

Learn More

Do you think your utility could benefit from partnering with Polesaver?

Peter Williams - Polesaver

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Contact our team to discuss how your utility company and pole stock can benefit from partnering with Polesaver

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Peter Williams - Polesaver International Sales Manager - Round Image

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Contact our team to discuss how your utility company and pole stock can benefit from partnering with Polesaver

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