The objects and principles of this act are to amend the Electricity Act, Cap. 145 to provide for a staggered term of office for the members of the authority; to provide for additional functions of the authority; to increase funds allocated to the Electricity Regulatory Authority from 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent of the revenue received from generated electrical energy; to empower the Minister to prescribe the procedure for transfer of generation assets to the Government; to prescribe the circumstances under which a holder of a generation licence or transmission licence may supply electricity to persons other than a bulk supplier; to provide for deterrent penalties for theft of electricity and vandalism of electrical facilities; to provide for the membership and funding of the Electricity Disputes Tribunal; and to provide for related matters. The proposal to amend the Electricity Act, Cap. 145 was intended to remove inconsistencies in the law introduce flexibility in its implementation and to streamline operations of the electricity sector.
Key highlights of the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2022
- The amendment has provided for the holder of a generation licence shall pay to the district local government in which the renewable energy generating station is situated, a royalty agreed upon by the licensee and the district local government.
- The amendment has made provision for the offences relating to licence. A licensee who without lawful excuse fails to comply with any term or condition of the licence commits an offence and is liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand currency points and in the case of a continuing contravention, an additional five hundred currency points for every day or part of a day during which the offence continues.”
- The amendment has also made provision for offences by body corporate. Where an offence committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he or she, as well as the body corporate, commits that offence and is liable to be prosecuted and punished accordingly.
- The amendment has made provision for the Minister to consult with the Judicial Service Commission, in the case of the chairperson and the vice chairperson, and in consultation with the Public Service Commission, in the case of other members of the tribunal, remove from office the chairman. the vice chairman or a member of the tribunal who is unable to perform the functions of his or her office arising from infirmity of body or mind;
- The amendment has also made provision for a decision of the tribunal or panel of a tribunal shall be binding if it is supported by a majority of the members.
- The amendment has also made provision for immunity from suit. No action, suit, prosecution or any other proceeding may be brought or instituted personally against a person who is or was a member of the tribunal or employee of tribunal in respect of any act done or omitted to be done in good faith in the discharge of any function under this Act.
- The amendment has also made provision suing of securities and shares. As a consequence of the vesting in the successor company by virtue of this Act of all property, rights and liabilities to which the Uganda Electricity Board was entitled or subject to, the successor company shall, in accordance with this Act, issue such securities of the company as the Minister may, in consultation with the Minister responsible for finance, from time to time direct.
Implications of the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2021
The amendment has made provision for a staggered term of office for the members of the authority; to provide for additional functions of the authority; to increase the funding to the authority from 0.3 to 0.7 percent of the revenue received from generated electric energy; to provide for the procedure under which licensees shall transfer generation assets to the Government to prescribe the circumstances under which a holder of a generation licence may supply electricity to persons other than a bulk supplier; to empower the authority to impose administrative fines and penalties; to provide for the membership of the Electricity Disputes Tribunal; to provide deterrent penalties for offences and to provide for related matters.
The amendment Act brings in a new legal regime and managerial developments that have taken place since 1999. The amendment has sought to fill in the gaps in the principal Act and the amendment is a step forward in the pursuit of better service delivery in the country.