Bujagali hydro power plant

When your end of month electricity bill gets to you with inflated figures, just know it is the official account as it is likely to be reflecting the increased power rates, which took effect mid last month.

This, in essence means that domestic and commercial consumers, both medium and large have lost the fight to retain the subsidised power tariffs even as the Bujagali power project is nearing completion.

Expected to generate at least 250MW upon completion, the Bujagali power is expected to impact positively on the cost of power and reduce on the scale of load shedding.

According to the Electricity Regulatory Authority, only 350MW are supplied yet demand stands at about 445MW.

“Most consumers have been ambushed. There was no wide consultation before the decision to increase the cost was implemented,” Mr Shaban Sserunkuma, a consumer activist, told Daily Monitor.

“As consumers we feel betrayed by government. This decision will have implications on our pockets, given that not many of us had their salaries increased. ”But the Private sector Foundation boss does not seem to share the consumers’ point of view.

According to Mr Gideon Badagawa, the move to increase the power tariff should have been done at least three to five years ago. He said: “What we have used in subsidies should have built more power projects, meaning by now we could have significantly sorted out power problem.”

According to Electricity Regulatory Authority, the unstable shilling and high international oil prices amidst unchanged electricity tariffs has increased the burden of subsidies to unsustainable levels.

“Between 2005 and 2010 government paid Shs934billion in subsidies and in the previous year the subsidies are estimated at Shs600billion,”reads the ERA reports made available to the media late last year.

Manufacturers seem to appreciate the logic behind the power tariff hike but they have expressed displeasure over the recent increase of electricity tariffs by between 36 and 69 per cent, saying it will increase the cost of doing business.

This would according to manufacturers curtail their competitiveness in the EAC market.

By Ismail Musa Ladu, Daily Monitor

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