Uganda among EAC countries with lowest energy losses

Investing in substations has been one of the ways through which energy losses have been reduced. Photo | file

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Tanzania, whose power losses stand at 15.16 percent, tops the list, followed by Uganda, whose electricity losses stand at 18 percent 

Energy Regulatory Association of East Africa (EREA) has said Uganda is among the top performers in the region in terms of reducing energy losses.
The details are contained in the EREA report - An Insight to the Region’s Energy Industry - for the period between July and Sept, which indicates that Uganda has the second lowest power leakages in the region.
Tanzania, whose power losses stand at 15.16 percent, tops the list, followed by Uganda, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya in that order.
Power losses in Zanzibar, according to the report stand at 19 per cent while in Rwanda they stands at 19.6 percent. Burundi and Kenya have the highest power leakages standing at 20 percent and 24.1 percent, respectively.
Reductions in distribution losses are a testament to power utilities’ efficiencies in ensuring most of the units that distributors buy from transmission companies reach consumers and are billed sufficiently. 
Energy regulatory authorities factor power losses in the end user tariffs, thus holding the Electricity Supply Industries’ investments costs constant. 
The lower the losses the more units are available, which translates into lower per unit costs or tariffs.
Ms Diana Naisuna Nambi, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) manager public relations and consumer affairs, said the reduction in energy losses has been achieved through setting stringent energy loss targets, among other performance parameters, which enables ERA to monitor performance of the industry on energy losses as well as finding remedies for areas with high losses.
One such measure, she said, has been the use of technology, through deploying a pre-paid metering system for the end-user consumers.
“Since some of the energy losses are increasingly being caused by acts of vandalism of electricity infrastructure, ERA is working together with other stakeholders, including the police to bring the vice to an end,” she said.
However, President Museveni has previously castigated players in the energy sector for their failure to bring down energy losses.  
Government also recently introduced heavy penalties for any person found of guilty of vandalising electricity equipment.  
The EREA report comes after the Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa, a Rome, Italy-based foundation that works to support Africa’s goal to achieve Sustainable Development Goal number seven – increase access to clean energy – in February said countries where private participation is possible, existing private operators are outperforming public utilities on reducing distribution losses, lower debt-to-equity, greater net cash flows and bill collection indicators.
In Uganda’s case, Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa compared the losses on the grid operated by the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company with those on the Umeme side, with UEDCL close to two times higher than those on the Umeme operated network.
Between January and June, Umeme said it had reduced electricity losses from 18 per cent to 17 percent due to investment in transformers, which are matched with demand.
Umeme had in March 2020 reduced the energy losses to 16 per cent, but the impact of Covid-19 on its anti-electricity theft drives contributed to an increase to 18 per cent as of December 2021.
Mitigation measures        
Electricity Regulatory Authority says that is has also been able to reduce energy losses through  stringent investments  approval for the utilities to enable use of aerial bundled conductors to curb power theft, which have also been a major contributor to energy losses.