Utilities in Kampala

One of the luxuries of living in Kampala compared to other parts of Uganda is the relative consistency of electricity and water. It’s not perfect, but it’s miles ahead of, say, Gulu. Here is everything you need to know to get you started with Kampala utilities.


Electricity in Uganda is delivered by one company: Umeme, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a British private equity firm. Umeme has invested about USD 60 million over the last few years to make Uganda’s power supply more reliable and accessible. And it shows. Especially since the new hydroelectric generator at Bujagali Falls came online in the first part of 2012, power in Kampala has been pretty stable.

And Umeme’s customer service is remarkably good. To get a new connection, check on your account, or report outages, you can call them toll free at 0800 185 185 or find them at http://www.umeme.co.ug.

In case of power outages you may want a generator, which you can find at Nakumatt and Game. Solar is also a good option in much of Uganda to decrease your reliance on the grid. Start with Solar Energy for Africa: http://www.solarafrica.org/


Water is delivered by the National Water and Sewage Corporation, wholly owned by the Ugandan government. The best way to handle water is to install a holding tank at your residence or office, which fills up and feeds your faucets and toilets by gravity. Most people avoid drinking the water in Kampala, but many people who have been here a while don’t mind brushing their teeth or washing their vegetables with it. And a quick boil or a good filter, like Tiva, will make your water plenty drinkable.

For new connections or any other inquiries, you can call the NWSC toll free at 0800 100 977.

Garbage Disposal

Driving around Kampala you’ll notice that this isn’t yet as common a practice as you might expect, as proven by the smoky trash fires that taint the air. Home and office garbage pickup and disposal is done mostly by private companies like Bin It Services, who provide you with plastic garbage bags and then drop by regularly to pick them up when they are full. You can contact Bin It through their website http://www.binitservices.com.

About James

I'm a writer and a founder of Ember Arts, a company that uses craft jewelry as a front for helping women achieve their dreams. I've been in and out of Kampala since 2006 and just can't get enough of the Indian food. Could do without the traffic, though. Contact me at james@livinginkampala.com.