A tendency by electricity consumers to take their complaints to politicians and other government top officials for redress is from today onwards a thing of the past.
Whether it’s about one’s meter box, irregular connections, wiring, receipts among others, the electricity consumer now has a place for his or her matter to be technically heard and addressed!
This is courtesy of the team at the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA)!
Led by an industrious Chief Executive Officer Eng. Ziria Waako Tibalwa alongside a vibrant board chairperson Dr. Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi, ERA has today launched a baby baptized as Consumer Protection and Installation Permit Center!
This is the place where everyone will freely walk-in and table his or her issues related to power supply and or yes, even those who vandalize power installations.
Not only will the center handle complaints, but also be a center for certifying those who wire people’s homes and businesses. The idea according to Eng. Ziria is to minimize on fatalities and loss of property by using qualified and certified electricians.
The same center will see a growth in the number of electricians from the current 3000 in number to about 10000 of them.
“ERA we’re excited about this initiative. It aims at protecting the interests of electricity consumers and also focus on the growth of electricians to make use of electricity clean and safe. This is going to be a center for research, permitting, innovation, consultancy among other services. We also realized that consumer complaints have also not been adequately addressed by licensed companies” a jovial Eng. Ziria said at the launch officiated by Energy and Mineral Development Minister Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa Sentamu.
She added that Certified Electricians are pivotal in safe use of energy and that ERA is targeting an increase in their number to a cool 10000 to ensure that citizens have access to clean energy.
She showered praises to Gen. Yoweri Museveni for always prioritizing issues of the energy sector and therefore urged stakeholders to always make use of this center.
Ziria also lined up a number of electricians baptized as ‘Pawa Kapos’ whom she said are the right people to use instead of going for the infamous ‘kamyufus’ (unqualified electricians).
“We trust Pawa Kapos’. Any connection done using a qualified electrician will not cause fatalities or destroy property but will save our people to enjoy electricity services. Certified wire persons are not only certified but also have practical experience to do the job” she counselled.
Dr. Wasagali beefed up Eng. Ziria saying the center will be a point of interface between ERA and electricity consumers in all categories be it domestic, commercial, large, medium and extra large not forgetting street lighting.
Located at the old ERA house in Kampala, Wasagali said the center will also be an interface between IPC and and the installation wire persons and issuance of installation permits. She said after 20 years of existence, ERA has registered numerous achievements both local, regional and at international scene among which includes winning several top accolades. She revealed that as a result of this, ERA is now vying for Uganda to host the Regional headquarters for the Regional Power Pool.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nankabirwa was all smiles with the team at ERA for being innovative and result-oriented.
She described the new initiative by ERA management as a step in the right direction as it will save politicians from numerous complaints from electiricity users who keep knocking on their offices seeking for help whenever they get power problems.
“People have been frequenting my office with receipts seeking for help. Now I want to tell you (consumers) that everything is in this center. I am so happy that this load is being taken off my head. Now I have where to direct them when they come. All complaints to do with meters, wiring, installation etc shouldn’t now be directed to MPs, PSs, ministers but here” she said.
The minister had no kind words for those who vandalize electric installations adding that these are responsible making power expensive.
“The more you vanadalize the wires, poles etc, the more you keep the electricity tariffs high. You want lower tariffs, but you encourage vandals. When shall we have reliable and afforadable power when people are vandalizing our installations?” she fumed.
Nankabirwa said that now that the government is implementing the Parish Development Model, people need power for Agriculture value addition. She sacarstically warned ERA that as we move towards 2025, pressure is going to be high on them as ERA and politicians. She also defended ERA’s decision to raise power tariffs saying this was dictated by the rise in the value of the dollar visa viz the Uganda shilling.
“If prices for maize, rice, fuel have gone up, how do you expect that of power to remain constant? We’re talking about dollars because we’re operating in dollars. Our PR department (ERA) should explain this to the people so that we save them from high blood pressure. We’re borrowing in dollars” she explained.
She however, asked people to pray very hard for the situation to normalize worldwide and also for Uganda to start producing it’s own oil.