Electricity is now cheapest form of cooking energy - ERA

ERA is currently working to ensure it is accessible across the country, noting that this will be a key driver in substituting biomass fuel with electricity in 50,000 households and 500 institutions around the country. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Last year, government launched the Cooking Tariff, which is one of the ways through which government seeks to reduce on the use of biomass fuels, among which include firewood and charcoal. 

Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has said electricity is now the cheapest cooking alternative. 

While signing a memorandum of understanding with the Uganda Prisons Service in Kampala yesterday, Eng Ziria Waako Tibalwa, the ERA chief executive officer, said studies conducted with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicate that electricity is currently the cheapest form of energy for cooking. 

Therefore, she said, ERA is currently working to ensure it is accessible across the country, noting that this will be a key driver in substituting biomass fuel with electricity in 50,000 households and 500 institutions around the country. 

“We are doing pilots to get facts of the impact when rolled out fully. When we cook now it is cheaper to use electricity compared to any other forms of energy. You need Shs300 to cook beans. There is no other form of energy where you can cook at Shs300,” Eng Tibalwa said.

ERA, she said, had introduced the Charcoal to Power project because of an increase in generated power which now makes access to power easier, amid an agent need to increase electricity consumption. 

Last year, government launched the Cooking Tariff, which is one of the ways through which government seeks to reduce on the use of biomass fuels, among which include firewood and charcoal. 

Eng Tibalwa said that the memorandum of understanding signed with Prisons will seek to undertake technical studies through which they will procure cooking pans, meters, improve power supply. 

A similar system, according to ERA has been installed in Mwana Mugimu in Mulago hospital under a special tariff of Shs412 compared to Shs747.5 for other domestic usage such as lighting.

Mr Samuel Akena, the Prisons commissioner in charge of special duties, said being one of the biggest consumers of biomass fuels in over 250 prisons across the country, the new system will be an important innovation in the Prisons system. 

“We have been using more than 30,000 tonnes of firewood to cook for prisoners in our over 250 prisons. This year alone, we budgeted Shs1.6b on energy alone but this new initiative is going to save us a lot,” he said.

The discussion 

Mr Akena also noted that together with UNDP, they had conducted an energy audit at the Luzira group of Prisons, the training school and hospital, which formed the basis of the decision to migrate to electricity from firewood, noting that Prisons are some of the biggest degraders of the environment.

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