The absence of a reliable and affordable power supply had been a key obstacle to the socio-economic development of the West Nile region. The World Bank-funded Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) programme identified the region as a special concession area, with the primary objective of providing sustainable power in Arua and Nebbi districts. This resulted in the West Nile Electrification project being tendered out to a private-sector player under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in 2002.
WENRECo was formed in 2003 by the Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), a programme of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) to fulfill the government’s request for international assistance in the construction of a vertically integrated isolated grid on a Build Own Operate (BOO) basis. The company heavily relies on a mini hydro-power dam located at Nyagak in Zombo district with an installed capacity of 3.5 MW generated from two units each supplying 1.75 MW. The WENRECo project targeted the electrification of 30 health centres, 60 schools, 250 businesses and 6,000 households between 2013 and 2015.
The company won a 25-year license from the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) for the generation, distribution, and sale of electricity in the West Nile region. The initial catchment area covered Arua and Nebbi districts, but this has since been expanded to include Koboko, Maracha, Zombo, and Yumbe districts, and the whole of the region in 2014 under the Grid Extension Project was funded by KFW. This project provided free meters and a cheaper connection. It was completed and handed over to WENRECo in 2016.
The estimated customer base for the entire West Nile Region from Pakwach, Nebbi Zombo, Arua, Maracha, Koboko, and Yumbe stands at approximately 23,000, with a peak demand of 6.5 MW and 3.2 MW at off the demand. WENRECo works with Electromaxx to ensure sufficient electricity supply especially during the peak demand.