We must ensure energy efficiency to curb losses - ERA

Power lines in Kampala. The high cost of electricity coupled with constraints in transmission and distribution systems remain the main barriers to maximising electricity access in Uganda. PHOTO/Racheal Mabala

Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has said it is lining up a number academic and electricity user institutions, to partner with to instil the culture of efficient use of energy to reduce power losses.

Speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Uganda Business Technical Education Board (UBTEB) and ERA, Eng Zilia Tibalwa Waako the ERA chief executive officer, said that as a statutory body created to regulate the electricity sector, besides regulating, generation, transmission and sale of electricity, there is need to increase the number of certified electricians since they are responsible for licensing electricians.

“We started the collaboration towards increasing the number of certified electricians. We want to ensure that there is sensitisation of electricians on the requirements of application for an installation permit,” she said.

Last week, the electricity regulator, signed two memoranda of understanding with (UBTEB) and Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI). Eng Zilia said by increasing the number of certified electricians, ERA hopes to accelerate access to electricity and reduce on power lost to illegal connections and power theft.

While signing the memorandum of understanding, Mr Onesmus Owesige, the UBTEB executive secretary, said like ERA, they have partnered with end users of their students to participate in their training and assessment so that by the time they leave school, they are aware of what is expected of them.

“After training, technicians get certification, licensing and permits which allow them to work. When your license or permit is withdrawn due to malpractices, the process of getting another one is very tedious,” he said while responding to a question as to how they ensure  graduands adhere to ethical standards.

On Wednesday, ERA signed another memorandum of understanding with UNCCI targeting manufacturers. 
Ms Immaculate Blessing Owomugisha, the UNCCI executive secretary, said they are onboarding ERA with other government agencies such as Uganda National Bureau of Standards to ensure that manufacturers adhere to the requisite production standards, among which include efficient use of energy, especially electricity.  

Eng Zilia said currently, Uganda loses 17 percent of generated electricity, noting that government is working on all possible channels through which it can be reduced to 13 percent.

Energy efficiency

Asked how they can enforce energy efficiency among manufacturers,  Dr Geofrey Okoboi, the ERA director economic regulation, said manufacturing tariffs are embedded with benefits that reward those who comply and penelise those that don’t. 

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