• Providers increase electricity charges by 20% a day after the government announced intend to reorganize the state owned Hargeisa Electricity Agency following evidence of massive graft
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The increase in the price of petroleum products has forced electricity providers to increase charges by 20%.
This was revealed by the chairperson of the Hargeisa Electricity Providers association Eng. Abdi Ali Barkhad during a press conference in Hargeisa where he also promised to reverse the charges once the cost of petrol goes down.
Though the increase is currently in Hargeisa only it is expected that the rest of the private providers in the country who control over 95% of the market will follow suit thus inflate the already exorbitant $1 a kilowatt charged consumers, among the highest rate in the world.
According to Eng. Barkhad who was flanked by other members of his association the increasing price of the low quality petrol being imported into the country has forced the upping of electricity rates as the Providers had been incurring loses of late.
While the justification by the providers is acceptable their announcement comes a couple of hours after the government announced plans to revamp the state owned Hargeisa electricity agency.
For a couple of months the city electricity supplier has been under scrutiny from the Auditor General’s office after the Minister of public works and housing Hon Ahmed Abdi Habsade called in the state investigator to peruse books at the agency.
The investigations which proved the minister right in his suspicions of maladministration prompted the president H.E Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo to establish a committee with the mandate of providing streamlining recommendations.
The committee composed of the Minister of planning Dr. Saad Shire, minister of public works Hon Habsade, Auditor general Mr. Mahmud Aw Abdi and Accountant General Mr. Mohamed Abdi Bedde brought a guilty verdict against the Hargeisa Electricity Agency management for bringing services down.
According to Hon Habsade the State agency has failed to sustain itself while services especially fee collection is ongoing but misappropriated thus requiring his ministry to prop up the agency though the state coffers have not provided the budget for such.
Informing that the city power agency has the potential to not only sustain itself but earn profits the minister of planning urged consumers to ensure that the pay their bills on time thus continued services from the agency which at $0.4 a kilowatt is the cheapest provider in the country.
On their part the auditor general and his Accountant general counter who concurred with the two ministers promised to maintain close scrutiny at the agency thus ensure that operations are not brought down again by managerial failures.
It is believed that the post of Hargeisa Electricity Agency which has always been a political appointment shall be publicly announced thus recruit the best without consideration to political affiliations.
It is hoped that the public works minister shall come up with legal stipulations that provide directions on how private electricity providers cost their services as well as how they manage their wiring within towns where residents have raised safety fears as a result of the haphazard way wires crisscross.
As the USAID facilitated Energy law is about to be completed it is hoped that the government shall embark on tangible activities directed towards developing or help develop sources of renewable energy especially wind and solar driven.
This will not only alleviate consumers from the payment of excessive cash for electricity but act as consolation price given to citizens by the government that scrapped its contract with total company thus invite profusion of unclean petroleum products by unscrupulous merchants.