Govt in U-turn over promise to reduce electricity tariffs
Posted Thursday, January 10 2013 at 02:00
Still paying. The government says it is still financing the cost incurred for the construction of Bujagali Power Dam.
Power consumers will continue to shoulder high electricity tariffs following government’s declaration that it will not subsidise power rates any time soon due to the fact that it is still footing bills incurred on the construction of Bujagali Power Dam.
The declaration made by the power regulator and confirmed by the State Minister for Energy, Mr Simon D’Ujanga, is a u-turn of what the government had earlier promised, particularly to the heavy power consumers.
“When Bujagali was being constructed the government subsidised thermal power. And now government is doing the same by footing the cost that was used to construct Bujagali,”said Mr Benon Mutambi, the Electricity Regulatory Authority executive director, on Tuesday after manufacturers questioned what had happened to promises of reduced power rates after the Bujagali Dam switch on.
Currently domestic consumers pay about Shs524 per kwh after 15 minutes usage, while medium scale industries pay between Shs380.8 and Shs550.9, depending on the time of usage and large industries pay between Shs266.6 and Shs375.4.
But if the regulators (ERA) could have their way after the ongoing consultations, power tariffs for domestic consumers could increase by 7 per cent, while for commercial consumers could go up by 7.8 per cent and 1.5 per cent for medium industries.
In a Tuesday meeting with manufacturers and industrialists in Kampala, Mr D’Ujanga reaffirmed the regulator’s position to maintain the current electricity charges, saying this will enable government collect more money to finance other power projects, among them the Karuma Power project.