Public hearing raises legality on Umeme’s monthly service fees

Requirement. The service charge, according to ERA is a revenue requirement for generating power. FILE PHOTO Requirement. Although the service charge is indicated in the breakdown on payment receipts, ERA says the money, which is collected as part of the revenue requirement by the sector to deliver the electrons from where they are generated to premises, is not kept by Umeme.

A member of the public has raised concern on the need for Ugandans to pay monthly service fees when paying electricity bills.
While at the second public hearing organised by Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to discuss Umeme’s performance parameters, Mr David Mugisha, an energy researcher and economist said monthly service charges are illegal.
“It is my contention that monthly service fee is illegal and should never have been charged beyond 18 months after the concession started and anything that it does should be under distribution, maintenance and operation costs,” he said adding that Umeme is collecting a lot of money and should be stopped.

Charges per user category
According to African Vending Systems, the provider of Payway Services, the domestic and commercial customers incur fixed monthly charges of Shs3,360 per month while medium industrialists pay Shs22,400 and large industrial package incur Shs70,000.
The monthly service fixed charge is a mandatory payment carried forward in case a customer postpones recharging during a particular month.
In response to his contention, Ms Ziria Tibalwa, the ERA chief executive officer, said in the spirit of transparency of the tariff determination, the regulator reveals the cost break down of the tariff.
She clarified however, that the money is not kept by Umeme.
“I take note of the burden of looking at your Payway receipt and seeing the cost breakdown. But the question is do we want it to be detailed or summarised? Otherwise, it is not money kept by Umeme. It is money collected as part of the revenue requirement by the sector to deliver the electrons from where they are generated to our premises,” she said, adding the system is best practice that has been derived from bench marking other countries.

Performance targets
The discussion sought to give Umeme an opportunity to justify why it is requesting for additional resources to operate their last leg of the 20 year concession.
ERA, had in April set performance targets for the power distributor, which included distribution, maintance and […]

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