UETCL- First African Power Utility to use the ArcFM UT system

October 05, 2009 —The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd. (UETCL) will be the first African power utility company to introduce the Geographical Information systems (GIS) “ArcFM UT” based on ESRI. The company’s network infrastructure documentation was either not at all available, or only in paper maps. UETCL decided that it was high time to introduce a state-of-the art GIS-based asset management system. The company first opted to obtain first-hand information on the use of GIS technology and on the processes of data conversion before implementing the system. The process to obtain information commenced with UETCL company staff visiting a number of German ArcFM UT users in April 2009.

While visiting the first German utility, its GIS manager explained in detail the use of GIS within their company. Especially of interest was how this utility captured the location of transmission poles from ortho photos, and really an eye-opener was that for them GIS was not used as a simple drawing tool, but rather plays a vital role in many business processes, such as handling emergencies and downtimes of the network. The UETCL study group enthusiastically greeted the answer of the control center manager on the request if he could demonstrate a SCADA simulation of such an outage: “Yes, we can!” At a second German AED-SICAD customer, they discussed especially the process of capturing data and how to control the quality of such data.

Capturing of Pole Positions has been done

Upon returning to Uganda, they proceeded in a first step to capture the position of all transmission poles using GPS technology for a pilot transmission line – The Lugogo –Mutundwe – Kabulasoke- Nkonge –Nkenda 132kV line. In a next step, the transmission lines and the stations need to be captured within ArcFM UT. Then the system will be ready to support decision making on urgent tasks such as replacement of old, still wooden poles in the northern and western part of the country. The aged wooden structures are vulnerable to faults during the rainy season due to rotting wood and during the dry season due to bush fires. The system will also be used to carry out feasibility studies for the 400kV Karuma Interconnection, 132kV Isimba Interconnection, 400kV Ayago Interconnection, 132kV Opuyo-Moroto, Mutundwe-Entebbe and Miram-Kabale, 220kV Masaka-Mutukula-Mwanza and Nkenda-Mpondwe-Beni priority projects.

The decision to invest in a multi-purpose GIS system will help the company to adequately meet its proposed programs for system expansion, store new and old network data inherited from the UEB that dates back in 1948 and enhance data security. The GIS system will also help utilize the available office space, data accessibility, analysis and integration to enhance efficiency.

While officiating at a workshop in Kampala in August, 2009, the UETCL D/CEO Mr. W.K Kiryahika said that the company had opted to adjust with the changes in technology and GIS will provide value for money with the proposed grid expansion plans. The project is being executed through GIC in Uganda and AED-SICAD’s business partner Oakar Services from Kenya.


UETCL is a state-owned company operating a total of 1400km High Voltage Transmission Grid network at two voltage levels 66-132kV and 13 primary substations with a National Control Centre. UETCL was formed after the unbundling of the former Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) into a generation (UEGCL), a transmission (UETCL) and a distribution (UEDCL) company.

About Geo-Information Communication (GIC)

GIC is dedicated to championing the use of GIS among the ever-expanding field of applications and professionals. GIC is a business partner of ESRI Inc. through ESRI Eastern Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya. GIC’s mission is “to provide high quality, cost effective, accurate and most timely GI products and services to clients of all disciplines while taking advantage of and maximizing the benefits from new and emerging trends in the field of geo-information and Internet technologies”.

About Oakar Services

At Oakar Services, we believe that the success of our business hinges on the effective access and utilization of GIS solutions. We are committed to providing our clients with exceptional, cost-effective, agile and adaptive solutions by partnering with leading GIS companies such as AED SICAD. Oakar Service’s portfolio of products include Consultancy, Training, Software Distribution (ArcFM UT, ERDAS and Cellular Expert) and supply of GPS Hardware from Magellan as well as GeoEye satellite imagery. www.osl.co.ke


AED-SICAD Aktiengesellschaft (AED-SICAD), Bonn/Munich, Germany, is the leading GIS application company in Europe. AED-SICAD employs more than 200 people. Their portfolio comprises high-end geo-information systems for the key segments utilities, cadastre and land management. With ArcFMä UT for the utility industry and LM on ArcGIS® for cadastre and land management, AED-SICAD develops a new generation of GIS applications and solutions based on the worldwide leading ArcGIS core technology. http://www.aed-sicad.com


Florian Brandi-Dohrn
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Oakar Services
Eric Nyadimo
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Geospatial Software QA Engineer for Applied Research Associates, Inc at Albuquerque, North Carolina
Assoc Geographic Info Analyst for North Central Texas Council of Governments NCTCOG at Arlington, Texas
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