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ERA puts contractors, wiremen at centre of Uganda’s electricity needs

Tibalwa (L) and other officials attending the conference.

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | The Chief Executive Officer of the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako has urged contractors and wiremen to support efforts of government aimed at increasing electricity access and distribution.

Tibalwa who was speaking at the inaugural electrical wiremen and contractors’ conference held on Nov.20 at Uganda Manufacturers Association said that as the demand for electricity services grow, so does the need for electrical installation services.

“Everybody has a role to play,” she said, “contractors and wiremen are at the centre of this and we shall support those that are serious with their work,” she told The Independent on the sidelines of the conference that attracted over 500 participants.

She said that ERA has certified over 1,802 persons, including companies and contractors.

She said that the conference was in line with ERA’s historical desire to establish a platform where different players in the electricity sector would gather to deliberate on issues that directly affect the function of electricity installation.

“The dream has been realized today,” Tibalwa said.

Section 88 of the Electricity Act, 1999, and the Electricity (Installations Permits Regulations) 2003 that require every person involved in electrical installation activities to possess an installation permit issued by the ERA. Section 3 (1) of the Electricity (Installations Permits Regulation), 2003, calls for the establishment of an Installation Permit Committee (IPC) comprising of five members, with representation from a distribution or supply licensee, the Engineers Registration Board, Uganda Consumer Protection Association and a  Vocational Training Institute. Officials said that all this is in place and that the committee is chaired by the authority.

“The Installations Permit Committee is fully constituted and the members are here with us today,” she had told her audience earlier.

The Installations Permit Committee is charged with interviewing applicants for installation permits, processing of new permits, renewal of permits and undertaking disciplinary measures against permit holders who do not comply with the terms and conditions of the permits issued to them.

The Authority is also actively involved in monitoring the operations of certified wiremen, who are supposed to renew their permits, to ensure compliance with the industry regulations that promote safe usage of electricity.

The conference was organised under the theme ‘promoting the electricity access agenda by enhancing safe and reliable electrical installation’ and in line with government’s Vision 2040 of 80% access to electricity.

Away from the wiremen, Tibalwa said that contractors play a pivotal role in grid extension and electricity utilisation in homes and businesses.

“…It is therefore a deliberate move by the Electricity Regulatory Authority to support them and multiply their numbers,” she said.

The conference brought together the government officials, development partners, wiremen and contractors.

It was organised at the right time since government is currently implementing the electricity connections policy whose aim is to provide free domestic connections to Ugandans, targeting 300,000 connections per year.

Tibalwa used the same occasion to appreciate the World Bank for its contribution of over US$200,000 to the Energy for Rural Transformation program (phase III), part of which, she said, will be used to support activities of the Installations Permit Committee aimed at growing the number of certified wiremen and contractors. Electricity access in Uganda is reported at slightly over 20% today but distribution stands below that percentage mark.

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