Uganda: Household Energy Sector Governace

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A Household Energy Demand and Use
B Household Energy Supply
C Household Energy Sector Governace
D Household Energy Information

C. Household energy sector governance

C.1 Introduction

As has been seen in sections 1 and 2, the great majority of low-income homes rely for cooking on biomass in rural areas and biomass and charcoal in urban centres, with high use of kerosene for lighting throughout the country. Almost all biomass, and much charcoal, is supplied through the informal sector, although issues to do with land and forest management are run by set up Commissions with guidance from the government ministries. Grid electricity and LPG are currently used mainly by better-off minorities, and are therefore also important issues to consider with respect to policy development and governance.

C.2 Household energy sector governance structure

Responsibility for energy, including for low-income households, is held by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD). Other relevant areas of governance are led as follows:

  • Forestry: Ministry of Lands, Water and Environment
  • Health: Ministry of Health
  • Environment: National Environment Management Authority
  • Energy: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD)

Co-ordination of these different government institutions is by the MEMD in collaboration with the private sector, particularly energy companies. The energy companies, especially those that deal with renewable, set up their own non-governmental organisation called, Uganda renewable energy association (UREA). This coordinated effort of the private sector companies, for example, worked smoothly with the government ministry during the implementation of the Uganda photovoltaic pilot project, and illustrated one the forms of coordination that can be achieved between the government and the private sector. The project office worked directly with these companies through their coordination office and it was then possible to document data that was needed from the private sector companies and these companies could also lobby the Ministry concerning the needs they had, such as the request on reduced tariffs on importation of solar panels.

C.3 Government policies/programmes

There appears to be no overall or co-ordinating policy directed at household energy for low-income homes. However, the 2002 National energy policy does consider energy in poor rural homes, within a national energy context, and includes a number of policy ideas that could contribute to improving access and stimulating demand. The lack of specificity for the circumstances of the poor may however be seen as a limitation.

For biomass fuels, the Forestry sector plan has devised ways of establishing rules on resource management, supply and distribution. The effectiveness of these rules is yet to be assessed through the monitoring system that was set up. Some work is reported on improved cook stoves by MEMD, NGOs working on renewable energy and the private sector. Efficiency of cook stoves has been analysed by NGOs and in most cases this has been done in collaboration with Makerere University, Faculty of Forestry; department of physics and Faculty of technology. Dissemination of the cook stoves has mainly been done by NGOs, which work with rural and peri-urban communities. Although fuel-efficient cook stoves have been taken up effectively, especially in peri-urban and rural areas, some NGOs have reported cases where these have been abandoned in cases where the cooking habits of such communities were not taken into consideration while designing the stoves. In common with other countries in the region, the supply of petroleum products, including kerosene and LPG, was liberalised. A subsidy is still applied to the purchase price of kerosene. The energy policy takes into consideration the need to widen access to LPG.

The government's rural electrification programme (delivered via the Rural Electrification Agency), includes the aims of rural development and poverty reduction. Connection rates for poor and rural areas remain very low, but a number of interesting policies have recently been introduced. These include 'smart subsidies' for rural electricity production, promoting single wire earth return technology, leasing solar PV systems, use of load limiters, and pre-payment metering. Also described is the Uganda Photovoltaic Pilot Project (2000-2002) that worked on enabling poor rural households to access solar PV systems. Credit facilities for purchase of solar panels were provided through village banks that were nearer to the communities. This project has started to be replicated in other areas where the pilot project did not reach and private sector companies have continued to provide solar panels through a credit facility arrangement with village banks. Information on the number of homes, educational and health institutions that have managed to access solar PV through such arrangements will soon be available from studies currently underway.

C.4 Summary and conclusions

The governance of energy as used by households in Uganda, particularly for low-income groups, is shared across a number of government departments and agencies. One of these, the MEMD has some responsibility for co-ordination through the implementation and monitoring of the energy policy. There is some innovative action for example in promoting rural electrification, although this has yet to work through to implementation on a large scale. Liberalisation of the petroleum market in recent years is important, and this has pushed up the price of kerosene. Policies to improve access to LPG need to be supported.
Last edited by Miriam Hansen .
Page last modified on Sunday September 19, 2010 17:33:21 GMT.
  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.