Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Uganda heading towards dark days.

Has anyone seen the latest loadshedding schedules effective February 1st. They are crazy. Some of us can expect not to see a lit bulb in our houses for days on end. The schedule is alternating between daylight (6am-6pm) and peak hours (6pm- 2am) rationing. What this means is that for one month or so, your area will be under the evening schedule and for the next month it will be under the daytime schedule. Absolute madness.

The thing that really pisses me off with all this is that the justification for the privatisation of the generation and distribution arms of what was then the Uganda Electricity Board was that the services would improve. Given the state of affairs at the time people assumed that privatisation could only make things better. Who could image worse loadshedding.

Eskom (going under the name of Umeme) has since raised the tariffs, saying more competitive tariffs would lead to better service. In true Ugandan style, the public made the obligatory noise for all of a week and gave themselves up to paying these tariffs.

Do we have better electricity supply. Hell no.

In their defence, Umeme claims that the water levels in lake Victoria have gone down so drastically that they cannot supply enough power for everybody. There is also talk of shutting down the Kiira hydropower dam. Hopefully it won't get to that because the consequences are tremendous.

In my pedestrian thinking, here is how it ought to be right now. If five years ago we had terrible infrastructure and inefficient mangement, but we had loadshedding a lot less than we do now (considering that this is not the lowest the lake waters have been). Then we should be having at least the same amount of loadshedding now (given the lakes levels and all) as we did back then considering all the improvements that privatisation has brought (efficient supply, getting rid of illegal connections, better service due to competitive tariffs etc).

I need somebody out there to soothe me with an explanation that makes sense to a simpleton like myself before I lose it and go medieval on those Umeme chaps at Rwenzori Courts.


Iwaya said...

"In true Ugandan style, the public made the obligatory noise for all of a week and gave themselves up to paying these tariffs." So Jay, what are you going to do about it?

Jay said...

I have just been awakened from my slumber. I'm trying to be more proactive in strongly, tirelessly (insert any other appropriate word at will) demanding what my government owes me. I have no idea yet how to go about this, its still early days.

Degstar said...

i'll tell you what i'm gonna do about this situation. i'm gonna move into the estate oppositethe American establishment on Spring Road, with all the other UEB/Umeme employees. those dudes do not get loadshedded kabisa.

Carlo said...

hahahaha! aren't i lucky not to be in the midst of all that! ok, i'll stop being saddistic, i feel for y'all but what you can do to stop it is make your own electricity supply company to stop Umeme or whoever from being a monopoly. hope that helps and even if it doesn't, you could just join me in india or south africa wherever i am at the moment.