In Summary
  • All these have led to the death of many Ugandans after coming into contact with live wires, falling of electricity poles, transformers and over exploitation of electricity consumers through use of faulty meters and wrong meter readings.
  • Therefore, there should be disclosure of all power purchase agreement, amendment of the Electricity Act 1999 and enacting the National Environment Bill 2017 to provide Ugandans with reliable, affordable and accessible electricity.

Last week, the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Irene Muloni, appeared before the Parliament Committee on Natural Resource over the Nalubaale and Kiira dams being at risk of shutdown over cracks and leaks. Ms Muloni told the committee that Eskom Uganda Limited, which was given the contract to maintain Nalubaale and Kiira power plants, have not done so in the last 15 years they have been in operation. She also informed the committee that one of the turbines has not been working for last three years.

What does this communicate to Ugandans? Why have ministries and regulatory authorities not addressed or taken any action against such irregularities in the energy sector? How can a government contract incompetent companies, poorly drawn agreements, and make bad negotiating power consensus which has resulted in companies like Umeme continuing to use substandard electricity equipment, including electric poles, meters as well as poor installations of wires in an unprofessional manner.

All these have led to the death of many Ugandans after coming into contact with live wires, falling of electricity poles, transformers and over exploitation of electricity consumers through use of faulty meters and wrong meter readings. All this happens in spite the presence of line ministries and regulatory authorities. Why can’t they take action? Is it due to the weak laws, impunity on the part of those who negotiate bad concessions, etc? Is it because of lack of independence of regulatory authorities like ERA and weakness in public consultation processes?

I call upon Parliament and the relevant authorities to address the issues in the electricity sector and to strengthen the regulatory authorities. Therefore, there should be disclosure of all power purchase agreement, amendment of the Electricity Act 1999 and enacting the National Environment Bill 2017 to provide Ugandans with reliable, affordable and accessible electricity.
Balach Bakundane,
bakundanebalach@gmail.com