Theft and vandalising installations at electricity consumers’ premises is becoming common in Uganda according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA).
A number of customers are losing their meters, suffer unnecessary power outages and incur costs for replacement of the vandalized equipment.
According to ERA, in most of these cases, the victims claim to have seen people conducting works on the installations but paid no extra attention.
Moments later, they suffer a black out or fail to reload power (yaka) and upon reporting the issue to their power distributor and an inspection is conducted, it is discovered that their equipment/meter is missing and they are required to meet the costs for replacement. What follows is anger and regrets.
The Electricity Quality of Service regulations established by ERA in 2003 place the obligation of safe guarding electrical equipment on the consumers. In case of vandalism, the consumer is required to meet the cost for replacement.
According to the Chief Executive Officer, ERA, Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako, consumers need to be extra vigilant and report any persons that they see near their electrical installations.
“At times, the meters are not vandalized but tampered with and the affected customers are not only required to meet the cost of installing a new meter but also pay a heavy fine for tampering.
In addition, if it is a transformer or any other installation that is vandalized, the cost for replacement is factored into the End-User Tariffs as a loss which affects the price of electricity. Therefore, consumers need to know that they pay highly for their silence on vandalism” Eng. Ziria explained.
She urges consumers to interrogate the persons that they see at their electrical installations by asking them for their work Identity Cards or relevant documentation that authorizes them to conduct such works especially if there were no prior complaints of power supply challenges reported to the power distributor, that necessitate a technician to inspect the installations.