With the growing number of businesses and new buildings coming up in Gulu City, the demand for utility services especially power is also on the rise.
Gulu which has traditionally been a mere district, was two years ago elevated to a City status along with Mbale, Fort Portal, Arua, Masaka and Mbarara.
The elevation of Gulu for example has created a lot of competition among locals with many scrambling for plots of land to set up businesses.
David Onen a boda boda cyclist around Pece stadium told us that a plot of land in Gulu City is now sold dearly ever since it became a City.
“I tell you, many businesses are opening up here. We have bakery and many jua Kari works going on. Buildings are coming up everyday. They need electricity and water systems” he said, adding that even those doing smaller businesses around Buganda Pub, are also making a lot of money at night due to availability of electricity.
Another resident Mukwasi Musa who deals in electrical merchandise says the demand for electrical appliances has also gone up especially wires, cables, sockets among others, which he says is an indication that there are more people getting connected to electricity in the city.
He however, noted that such developments will require government to ensure that those who do the plumbing and electric installation works in City buildings are highly qualified to avoid losses.
Mukwasi is also alive to the fact that ERA has taken up the task of electricians/Pawakapos.
“It is a step in the right direction and I commend them (ERA) for this effort. It will save people’s lives and property” he said.
Indeed, ERA efforts to deal with quack electricians have already extended to Gulu. Through it’s Installation Permits Committee, ERA recently sensitized and also issued installation permits to 61 electricians or Pawakapos.
The PawaKapos were certified and issued with Electrical Installation Permits of Classes; B, C, D, and Z.
“The certified Pawakapos can now carry out Domestic and Industrial Electrical Installation Works within Gulu City and other parts of the country. Pawakapos however, need to be cautious while doing their work as a way of being professional and efficient” says IPC.
Before certification, PawaKapos were sensitized about the procedure for application for Electrical Installation Permits, knowledge of proper and acceptable earthing, wiring regulations, cable sizing, and quality of materials. They were also equipped with practical skills in Electrical Installation.
According to the Committee, sensitization was done to refresh Pawakapos’ knowledge and bring them to speed with current trends in wiring, to enable them to operate efficiently and effectively.
Ms. Charlotte Kyohairwe the Principal Legal Officer at ERA, urged the PawaKapos to operate within the relevant laws that govern their profession, to avoid being culprits of related charges.
Under Section 88(1) and (2) of the Electricity (Amendment) Act 2022, ERA is mandated to certify all Electricians to ensure that they operate in a secure, professional, effective, and efficient manner.
Based on this Mandate, ERA conducts regional IPC activities, to grow the number of PawaKapos, especially for classes C and D because they provide domestic installation services.
“Certification of Pawakapos is aimed at fueling the effective implementation of the Electricity Connections Policy that will see Uganda’s access rate increase to 60% Access by 2040” says Julius Wandera, ERA’s director for Corporate and media affairs.