The Attractiveness of Energy

How attractive is the grid?

The short answer: very. In Uganda businesses flock to it like moths to a flame. This may be an obvious point to make but figures bring specificity to the discussion. So, we mapped 431,587 Ugandan micro, small and medium sized businesses and measured their distance to the electricity grid. We're not making any claims about correlation or causation; maybe the grid followed the business or populations. We just present the results and leave it to the comments section for explanation.

There are More Businesses Closer to the Grid

There are more businesses closer to the mains electricity grid and this number drops sharply the further one gets from it. Of the 431,587 businesses in our database, 224,486 were within 50m of the grid while 7,607 are between 300-500m from it. You can see the sharp drop in the chart below.  

The number of business drastically drops the further you get from the electricity grid. 

The number of business drastically drops the further you get from the electricity grid. 

There are Bigger Businesses Closer to the Grid

Small and medium businesses comprise a greater proportion of those closer to the grid. Not too surprising as these require more electricity and are more likely to be able to pay the higher costs. The further from the grid, the greater the proportion of micro enterprises. 

The proportion of medium and large businesses drops significantly the further you get from the grid. 

The proportion of medium and large businesses drops significantly the further you get from the grid. 

1km of Influence

The magic number here is 1km. After this distance there is a sharp drop in both small and medium businesses. UMEME, the primary electricity distributor only connects customers within this distance of the grid.  

There is a sharp drop in the number of medium and large businesses after 1km. The red line shows the maximum distance UMEME will connect customers to their line.

There is a sharp drop in the number of medium and large businesses after 1km. The red line shows the maximum distance UMEME will connect customers to their line.

A Proximity to Power Economy

We're not claiming every business within 1 km of the grid actually has been connected to the grid but the fact is that the turnover of these businesses with proximity to power is proportionally higher.

So, what to do with this information? It may be worth knowing that there is a wider impact of the electric grid rather than just the new connections to it. Would this strengthen the argument for scaling up the grid expansion to areas that could benefit from the proximity to power economy? Let us know your thoughts...