TOUGH LAW ENACTED TO DEAL WITH ELECTRICITY INFRUSTRUCTURE VANDALISM-MINISTER OKAASAI

 Private Solar Power generating individuals, companies allowed to sell power to the national grid

The Energy and Minerals week 2022 is on

BY ZURAH NAKABUGO

The Minister of State for Energy Sidronius Opolot Okaasai has warned the public against vandalizing the country’s electricity infrastructure noting that offenders will face tough penalties including jail terms and fines of up to Ug.shs 1bn.

Just last week the Uganda Police arrested suspects in a swoop it conducted in and around Kampala where electricity materials including high voltage cables were being sold by vandals . Several powerlines have been vandalized along major highways forcing government to establish a specialized police unit to find and arrest the thieves.

“According to the amended new law on electricity infrastructure 2022, if you are caught tempering with electricity infrastructure, you will be liable to a fine not less than Shs 1bn or imprisonment of 15 years or have both,” Okaasai said.

PS Eng. Irene Bateebe had a light moment at the event

He added, “the new law on electricity is against electricity infrastructure vandalism, ranging from stealing electricity, tempering with electricity distribution lines, cutting off jigh voltage cables, stealing wires and others.”

Okaasai was launching the Energy Week 2022  at Hotel Africana with a theme “Energy and Minerals for sustainable Industrialization and Economic Recovery.”

He said, this year’s energy and minerals week , will focus more on maintenance and increased awareness and dissemination of information about -availability of energy resources for public to know and improve Uganda’s industrialization and economic recovery.

Okaasai said the new law is also enabling the generators and transmitters of electricity to sell it directly to end users. This will reduce on the electricity prices since they have removed the ‘middlemen’-distributors.

“This has targeted to help mainly the industries within the proximity of generation plant since they have removed the cost of distributors and they will be paying low tariffs,” he added.

Okasaai said the new law gives provision to facilitate a person to sell excess generated power from the solar panel of his house using net metering and supply it to the grid which is managed by transmission companies without storing it in batteries.

“ The transmission company will count the amount of power you have put in the grid and then pay you for that power,” he said.

Okaasai said, currently the capacity of reserved fuel tanks, available in Jinja is 30 million liters of petroleum products which can take the country for a week.

“In order to ensure steady petroleum products in the country, we have to maintain the reserved fuel tanks but also store more fuel within oil marketing companies since they have a bigger capacity, for reserves,” he said.

The ministry of energy advised all oil marketing companies to have their own oil capacity towards Kenyan elections.

“If all oil companies in the country have full reserved oil, towards Kenyan elections, these petrol products would take us for two weeks and above.  There is also another petroleum storage infrastructure with capacity of 70 million liters, established on Entebbe road for future security of fuel products,” he said.

Speaking at the same event Irene Bateebe, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy and Mineral development, said the Energy and Minerals Week, has been organized to increase awareness on strategies, policies, legal and regulatory issues relating to energy and minerals in the country through dialogue and exhibition.

“It is aimed at encouraging the sustainable use of energy and minerals in our country and has been held annually for the past 17 years (since 2005),” she said.

Bateeba said this year’s annual event will start on October 31 to November 5, at Kololo Independence grounds. During the week, Ministry of Energy will provide information relating to progress made in energy and Mineral development within the country.

She said, “We are coming out of COVID-19 and there is need for us to build a certain resilience around our sub-sector. This dialogue will enable all of us to think through this sustainability and resilience plan to enable us to archive our targets.”

She advised all companies interested in energy development to support the ministry and attend the function.

Several events are planned to take place during the Energy and Minerals Week 2022 include, the Energy and Minerals Exhibition on October 31 to November 5, Oil and Gas Dialogue on October 31 and Minerals Dialogue, on November 1.

Others are the Energy Efficiency and Electric Mobility Conference on November 1, the Power Forum 2022, on November 2 among  others.

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