ERA warns landlords hiking tenants’ electricity charges

  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda

Kampala- Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has warned landlords of commercial buildings in Kampala to stop charging tenants electricity prices that are outside the gazetted rates. 
The warning comes on the back of raising concerns pointing to landlords charging tenants outside official tariff guidelines.

In a notice published yesterday, ERA said it had received multiple complaints from stakeholders decrying a hike in electricity charges in commercial buildings.

“ERA [has been receiving] complaints from tenants in commercial buildings, markets and the civil society in Kampala... relating to electricity charges beyond those approved by ERA,” the notice reads in part, warning that this was against the law and those “found engaging in any practice that is inconsistent shall be criminally prosecuted”.

The practice, ERA said, is mostly found among the bulk metering system customers, some of who continue to act outside regulations of electricity distribution licensees.

The notice said, a landlord who is bulk metered and later redistributes to other tenants should charge identical tariffs as would have been charged by an electricity distributor such as Umeme. 
“Unit owners or tenants are supposed to pay based on their actual power consumption as displayed by their sub metres,” the notice said. 
Mr Julius Wandera, the ERA manager consumer and public affairs, confirmed the warning, noting that they had advised landlords to install Yaka metres in each stalls or shops for the consumers to manage their payments.

Ms Florence Nsubuga, the Umeme chief operations officer, yesterday told Daily Monitor they were aware of the practice and have previously engaged some landlords.

For instance, she said, they had encountered resistance from particularly two landlords - who she could not name - but said they continue to insist on overcharging tenants.

ERA’s approved charges for commercial tariffs where arcades and shopping malls fall is Shs686.1.

The warning follows a revelation by Mr Isa Sekito, the Kampala City Traders Association spokesperson, who, during a public hearing organised by ERA, said some landlords in Downtown Kampala charge tenants as high as Shs1,000 per unit.

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