ERA cuts street lighting tariffs by 50 per cent

Monday August 5 2019

Challenge. Street lighting has been a challenge

Challenge. Street lighting has been a challenge in much of Uganda due to related costs with many towns and municipal authorities resorting to solar, which has also proved to be expensive in terms of maintenance. FILE PHOTO  

By Christine Kasemiire

In what seems to be the biggest tariff cut by Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), street lighting tariffs have been cut by half.
In the tariff schedule released for the period running from July to September, ERA cut the cost of a unit of electricity used by streetlights to Shs371.4 from Shs742.8.
Street lighting tariffs have in the past stood at or between Shs700 in 2018 and Shs679 in 2017.
Mr Julius Wandera, the ERA communications manager, told Daily Monitor at the weekend the cut was a board decision that sought to improve security through lighting cities and towns across the country.
“The street light tariffs were cut for national security consciousness and in a bid to incentivise electricity consumers, especially industrialists to work longer hours and grow productivity,” he said.
The move comes after government cut tariffs for industries to 8 cents during off peak hours.
Equally, electricity prices across different consumer categories have been dropping, although minimally.
For instance, domestic consumers will see a Shs5.1 drop to Shs755.1 from Shs760.2.
The first 15 units paid at the beginning of the month, otherwise known as lifeline units, have been maintained at Shs250.
Tariffs for commercial consumers have dropped to Shs669.5 from Shs675.4 while medium industrial consumers are paying Shs599.2 from Shs604.7 in the previous quarter.
Large industrial consumers will enjoy a Shs6.2 tariff cut from Shs371.2 in the previous quarter to Shs365.7 currently while extra-large industrial consumers are paying Shs304.7 from Shs307.9.
Mr Daniel Birungi, the Uganda Manufacturers Association executive director, welcomed the cut specifically on street lighting, noting it will give industrialists an opportunity to utilise off peak hours.
“The challenge has always been the darkness around [streets]. It is risky for people to move and as the responsibility of the employer, we have to ensure security of employees. So this provides us with lighting so our staff can move to the factories during those periods [night],” he said.
Mr Birungi also noted that whereas tariffs have been slightly reduced, there is need to improve reliability and cost, especially for manufacturers.
The new tariffs come on the back of an increase in macro economic factors such as international prices of fuel and exchange rates, which feed into electricity tariffs.
However, inflation, which also influences the movement of power tariffs, has remained stable reducing to 2.6 per cent in July.

Competitiveness

More than 70 per cent of Uganda’s electricity is consumed by industrialists under Uganda Manufacturers Association, who have for years demanded that power tariffs are lowered to manageable proportions so that they can bring down the costs of production to boost competitiveness.

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