it is true that some companies at the rate of power tariffs that has been in force could not produce competitively hence resolved to process from neighbouring countries. These include Star Coffee. It is not clear what the case will be with increased charges.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Raised power tariffs take root next week
By NELSON WESONGA
Posted Friday, January 13 2012 at 00:00
Implementation of new power tariffs takes effect this month and not February as earlier stated, the government yesterday announced. The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) chairman, Mr Richard S. Apire, said the new tariffs start on Sunday (January 15).
Daily Monitor yesterday reported that domestic power consumers will pay 36 per cent increase for every unit. According to the schedule, domestic consumers will pay Shs524.5 from Shs385.6 per unit of energy consumed whereas commercial consumers shall pay Shs487.6 up from Shs358.6 per unit; medium industries Shs458.9 from Shs333.2 per unit while large industries will pay Shs312.8 from Shs184.8.
Speaking to journalists in Kampala yesterday, Mr Apire said: “The tariffs were inevitable given that government could not afford to continue dishing out Shs396 billion in subsidies to the power generators and distributors.”
The government pronouncement came contrary to earlier media reports that the new tariffs ranging from 36 to 69 per cent in hikes depending on the type of consumer were slated to start on February 1.
The increment in power tariffs come at a time when consumers are enduring 12-hour load-shedding because less power is generated, and thus complaints that they pay the same bills they used to, although they now use less power.
However, government has since allayed people’s fears, saying the commissioning of Bujagali Hydropower Project would increase power supply at reduced tariffs. However, Mr Godfrey Ssali, an official of the Uganda Manufacturers Association, warned that the development could translate into civil strife that would further taint the government’s image.
Energy Minister Irene Muloni said the tariffs could fall once Bujagali Dam is fully commissioned.
She said other factors such as the price of oil at the international market, the strength of the Ugandan Shilling against the (US) dollar would have a bearing on the tariffs.
Government said the saved monies from subsidies would be spent on other sources of energy. Eng. Muloni also said the Bujagali power project would offer temporal relief from load-shedding.
“The relief from load-shedding will be temporary because the growth in demand for electricity is higher, at 10 per cent,” she said.
The minister appealed to electricity consumers to adopt power saving mechanisms like use of energy saving bulbs and other gadgets to reduce costs.