By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) to formalize a partnership between the two institutions (ERA and UPS) aimed at promoting and implementing a pilot project to allow Uganda Prisons Service’s facilities to transit from using Biomass for cooking to using Electricity for cooking. This initiative is under the project codenamed “The Charcoal to Power Project”.
According to ERA, the Pilot Project for which the MoU has been signed is the second pilot project to be implemented under ERA’s Charcoal to Power Initiative. The first one was a similar Pilot Project implemented at the Mwanamugimu Children’s Clinic at Mulago Hospital to introduce efficient and
clean cooking technologies for the facilities of the Uganda Prisons.
The two government entities signed the MoU during a function that was held at the ERA head offices in Kampala and was officiated over by Engineer Ziria Tibalwa Waako, the Chief Executive Officer ERA, the Assistant Commissioner General Prisons ACGP – SD Samuel Akena, and other officials from UPS.
Speaking at the function, Eng. Waako said the project has since been code-named “The Charcoal To Power Project” and stressed that the main objective is to introduce efficient and clean cooking technologies for the facilities of the Uganda Prisons Services, namely, the Luzira Upper Prison, the Women’s Prison and the Maximum prison and will be rolled out to other prisons facilities across the country.
Click Here To Read Full Statement From ERA
“Government hopes that the pilot project will increase per capita electricity consumption by 30% for the targeted consumers, thereby contributing to the reduction of the depletion of forests for biomass energy and lowering carbon emissions from use of biomass in cooking/heating,” Eng. Waako said.
“Under this pilot project, the prisons facilities and other institutions will pay Ushs 451.4 per unit of electricity consumed, compared to the normal Tariff (currently at Ushs 747.5 per Unit – subject to change every quarter in line with movements of the Macro-Economic parameters,” she added.
She revealed that the projects come with several advantages that include; reduction in tariff, improvement in electricity affordability reliability, reduction in deforestation and behavioral climatic change caused by pollution, the establishment of financing/credit schemes, capacity building and technology transfer, energy efficiency, and standards.
She said that under the project, ERA will start with 50,000 households, 500 institutions such as schools, hospitals, prisons among others, because they are the highest consumers of charcoal.
The ACGP said that there are various groups of prisoners to cook for which include the general prisoners, hospital, and training school.
“That is what formed the basis of our decision to shift from using fuel to cooking with subsidized electricity. So, we decided to migrate. It’s not instant; it is a systematic migration from the use of firewood to electricity,” Akena said.
He added that; “On average we use slightly over 30,000 tones of firewood per year, which translates to very many trees that would have been cut down. In terms of money, this financial year alone we spent over Shs1.6Bn.”
He explained that using firewood will not be completely phased out but that the biggest percentage of cooking shall be done using electricity.
Akena added that based on findings on Luzira hills, they resolved to shift from Bio-mass to use electricity since the tariffs are to be reduced by ERA.
The ACGP noted that it will help a lot in reducing the cost of operations for the Prisons Services and saving the environment through avoiding deforestation.
Uganda Prisons Services recently conducted research together with ERA and UNDP, proving that using electricity is cheaper than firewood and will help them save lots of money.
The charcoal to Power Project is an initiative of the Electricity Regulatory Authority aimed at improving the health status of Ugandans by reducing CO2 emissions through increased per capita consumption of Electricity.
It is also aimed at the growing demand for electricity through Increased usability of electricity for cooking in
households, institutions, and commercial establishments.
Under the project, ERA targets to convert 50,000 households, 500 institutions (including hospitals, prisons, institutions of learning), and commercial enterprises from use of Biomass as the primary source of energy for cooking or heating to use of electricity.