The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has embarked on a pilot project aimed at possible elimination of use of firewood in schools, Health Centers, homes and other institutions for cooking.
The project according to ERA board chairperson Dr. Wasagali Sarah Kanaabi is as a result of a recent study ERA carried out to find out how much schools spend on firewood for cooking.
“This pilot project is informed by a study we undertook on how much schools spend on firewood. We came up with a pilot study which we’re carrying out at Mulago (Mwanamugimu). Other institutions like Prisons have already expressed interest in it and we hope it’s one way we can reduce on the expenditure on firewood in not only schools but also at home and other areas” she said.
Dr. Kanaabi said that ERA wants to increase on usage of power but at the same time reduce on environmental degradation.
She said the program if fully implemented, will see people use electricity in their homes for cooking and other institutions.
“Schools for example, will save on the cost of firewood. This new program saves our environment and also save time for other activities. We are currently doing a pilot study and eventually we shall role it out to household level” she said adding that, the power tariffs will be favorably lower and therefore affordable.
Meanwhile, Kanaabi and a visiting team from Arusha today held a meeting with the minister for energy and mineral development in an effort to rally government support towards a desire by Electricity Regulating Institutions in the EA region to establish a Center of Excellence.
These institutions have so far formed a regional association called Energy Regulators Association of EA (EREA). A team from Arusha led by Dr. Geoffrey Aori Mabea is in Uganda on a four-day mission to seek guidance and way forward from the energy minister on how the organization can drive the critical agenda of agitating integrated regional energy markets within the EA.
“EREA is leading the realization of robust energy union of the EAC and harmonization of Energy Regulatory frameworks of the respective member states. EREA believes energy is the primary driver of all sectors of our economies” Dr. Mabea told reporters at the energy ministry.
The organization has come up with a Memorandum of Understanding which it seeks government through the energy minister to sign so that it can among other things set up a Center of Excellence for energy.
“We want to establish a Center of Excellence for energy. Tanzania has already provided a site for the Association. The Center of Excellence is very important because it will among other things help in sharing ideas, knowledge and technology. We shall be able to tap into each other’s areas of excellence. We are putting a lot of emphasis on research” ERA chairperson Dr. Kanaabi said.
She said the MoU that awaits the government authorization is already before the energy minister who is going to forward it to the Attorney General for further scrutiny before it’s signed.
Mabea added that since some EAC member states like South Sudan still lack an electricity regulatory authority, EREA was working with the African Development Bank and COMESA to help this young country to build a national Regulatory authority, adding that EREA is also looking at harmonization of methodologies of determining power tariffs by member states.
“Harmonization of methodologies gives confidence to investors who are coming to the region. We want robust tariffs that are cost effective and promote investment” he said. The meeting was also attended by ERA Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako.