JINJA. Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) from the 10 districts of Busoga sub-region and their counterparts from Buikwe and Kayunga districts, have called for revision of laws governing Electricity Disputes Tribunal (EDT).
They said the tribunal is just on paper, and should be scrapped or its operations strengthened and decentralised.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop held in Jinja on Thursday, the administrators said the tribunal is ineffective as it is detached from society.
“You sit in those air conditioned offices and drive expensive cars without any effort at finding out the problems that the people you are meant to serve face. Government needs to revisit these laws governing the energy sector,” said Kayunga CAO, Mr Henry Ssebagala.
Mr Ssebagala, backed by Buikwe RDC, Mr Nasser Munulo, said the body should open up offices upcountry as opposed to maintaining a presence in Kampala alone.
Mr Munulo also called on EDT to consider holding public dialogues like barazas where they can engage members of the public as opposed to holding workshops in expensive hotels where they engage only the elite.
However, Mr Bukenya Matovu, an official from EDT defended the body saying it has so far done well in addressing complaints raised against power distribution firm Umeme in the areas of compensation, illegal and unfair disconnections and high and unrealistic bills.
EDT, which was set up in 2003, derives its mandate from Section 93 of the Electricity Act.
Its objective is to hear complaints related to the power sector, which include disputes between consumers and the public bodies charged with generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Uganda.
The body, which has powers of the High Court is housed in the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) offices in Amber House in Kampala.
The Electricity Disputes Tribunal is comprised of four members, i.e. three lawyers and one engineer.
By statute, its jurisdiction and primary objective is to hear and determine all matters referred to it relating to the electricity sector. This includes electricity disputes between consumers and the public bodies charged with generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Uganda and in exercising such functions it has powers of the High Court of Uganda.
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR