Uganda: Household Energy Supply

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

B. Household energy supply

B.1 Introduction

From Section A it can be appreciated that wood and charcoal are the household fuels used most by low income groups, so issues of supply and sustainability from forests are critical. Kerosene is the most important fossil fuel, and with no oil reserves, Uganda needs to import oil (also for LPG, diesel, etc.) using foreign currency. Electricity is generated mainly by hydro-electric power, with some from fossil fuel.

B.2 Wood

In general, rural households collect wood from the surrounding countryside, while in urban areas wood and charcoal are transported into the cities and sold through many small outlets.
A total of 13.5 million tonnes (5.23 million toe) of wood are used by households annually, outstripping supply by 3.8 million tonnes of wood per year. As a result, households are finding that wood is becoming increasingly scarce, requiring more time and effort to collect. Most poor homes use 3-stones fires, with only 1% and 11% of rural and urban homes respectively using improved stoves. In rural areas most wood is gathered, but in urban areas it is usually purchased, with prices typically in the range 16 to 38 Euro per toe.

B.3 Crop residues / dung

These fuels are used mainly in rural areas, in the same types of stoves as for wood - typically 3-stone fires. It is estimated that around 2 million tonnes of crop residue/dung is used, but data are not available on the number of homes that regularly use these fuels.

B.4 Charcoal

A total of 3.12 million tonnes (2.31 million toe) of charcoal are used each year, considerably less than the figure for wood, but this is a very important fuel for urban communities where it is used by poor and better-off homes. Data are not available on the number of homes that regularly use charcoal. The most common device for burning charcoal is a metal stove, with or without a ceramic liner. Supply is lower, and prices higher, in the wet season. Quoted price of 200 Euro per toe (Entebbe). The background information from a project on charcoal production and marketing designed by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development indicated that in Kampala city, in 1995, it was estimated that a population of 1,061 million people consumed 205,825 tonnes of charcoal for cooking. Considering that there was an increase in population by 32% between 1994 and 1999, it was estimated that Kampala's consumption rose to 217,689 tonnes of charcoal, and of this Luwero, Nakasongola and Masindi districts contributed 124,705 tonnes (45.9%).

B.5 Coal

Coal is not available or used in Uganda

B.6 Kerosene

Kerosene is the most widely used fuel for lighting, with only 5% of urban households using it regularly for cooking. Lighting is provided by metallic wick lamps or lanterns, while cooking is done on wick or primus stoves. Information that was available by 2002 indicated that a total of 42,400 toe of kerosene is used by households each year, and is available through petrol stations and some retail outlets. The price of kerosene has risen in recent years, and now stands at around 820 Euro per toe (Entebbe).


LPG is used by less than 2% of urban households, and very little by the poor.

B.8 Electricity

Electricity is mainly available to the urban areas of Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja. A total of 362 million kWh is consumed by households per year, but the rate of connection is only 5% of homes for the whole country, and only 2% of rural homes. The majority if electricity is generated by hydro-electric power, and seasonal variations are minimal due to the large reservoir of Lake Victoria. The tariff for general residential use is 0.021 Euro per kWh. Appliance costs vary from around 20 Euro for a simple hotplate up to several hundred Euro for a good quality oven and rings.

B.9 Summary and conclusions

The majority of low-incomes homes in Uganda use wood (rural) or charcoal (urban), of which 5.23 million and 2.31 million toe respectively are used annually. Throughout the country there is a deficit of sustainable fuel wood supply. The majority of wood used by households is collected, not bought, which has (at least short-term) economic implications for any transition to commercial fuels. In contrast to the situation for wood, almost all charcoal is purchased. Around 2 million tonnes (less than 1 million toe) of dung and crop residue is used per year - for the same purposes as wood and mostly when the latter is in short supply - and all of this occurs outside of the commercial sector. Kerosene is distributed very widely, with some 42,000 toe used per year. LPG use remains low and restricted to urban areas, where it is estimated to be used by around 14,000 homes, so this remains a minority use fuel and still predominantly for the better-off.

Cost comparisons are complicated by the fact that most wood and all dung & crop residue is collected rather than purchased, and because kerosene - and LPG appliances in particular - are far more fuel efficient that simple open wood fires (both the combustion efficiency and heat transfer). Hence, the energy available for cooking and other uses from one toe of these fuels (especially LPG) is considerably more than from one toe of wood burned in a 3-stone fire. However, taking the market prices, wood is the cheapest form of energy (16-38 Euro/toe) followed by charcoal (200 Euro/toe), kerosene (820 Euro/toe, marked up in rural areas).
Last edited by Miriam Hansen .
Page last modified on Sunday September 19, 2010 17:34:05 GMT.
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