KAMPALA – The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has approved and gazetted the Electricity (Acquisition and Use of Wooden Poles in the Electricity Supply Industry) Guidelines, 2020.
This move by ERA, to regulate the use of wooden poles, is premised on ensuring efficient utilization of the Industry’s resources and value for money. It is also aimed at improving Power Supply Reliability.
On average, wooden poles are supposed to last about 20 years but in Uganda, the biggest number has been rotting away by the fifth year and require replacement.
According to a statement issued by ERA, the guidelines aim to guarantee the Service Life of Wooden Poles to a Minimum of 20 (Twenty) Years after they have been erected onto the Electricity Network, provide for and encourage the Tracking and Mapping of Wooden Poles erected on the Network.
The guidelines will also be able to set the Standards for the quality of Poles that are procured and used in the Electricity Supply Industry in Uganda;
“Prescribe the Minimum requirements for Service Providers that intend to supply Wooden Poles to the Electricity Supply Industry in Uganda. Increase the Service Life and Efficiency of Wooden Poles; and, Improve Reliability of Power Supply,” the statement further reads.
The statement also explains that these guidelines apply to all persons holding a Licence or Certificate of Exemption issued by the Electricity Regulatory Authority for Power Distribution, Transmission and any other activity that involves the use of poles for Distribution, Transmission or Sale of Electricity.
The Guidelines issued under Section 10 (i) (p) of the Electricity Act, 1999, Cap 145 of the Laws of Uganda take effect on 1st March 2021.
These guidelines shall apply to all persons holding a Licence or Certificate of Exemption issued by the Electricity Regulatory Authority for Power Distribution, Transmission and any other activity that involves the use of poles for Distribution, Transmission or Sale of Electricity
“A Licensee shall ensure that all poles procured comply with the Standards of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS). A Licensee shall procure Wooden Poles from the List of ERA-Registered Suppliers notwithstanding paragraph b) of Clause 5 of these guidelines, the Licensee shall ensure that any Service Provider procured meets the Minimum criteria enlisted in the Schedule of these guidelines,” the guidelines state.
The guidelines also require a license to ensure Competition in its Procurement Processes.
Only erect poles on the network fitted with an Electronic Chip or similar device that has the ability to store the following information about the pole the Source of Pole/Supplier, the Date of Treatment, the Date of Erection, the Length of the Pole, a Unique Identification Number, the Global Positioning System (GPS) Coordinates of the Pole, the Age of the Pole Before Treatment, the Species; and hazard class shall be allowed to operate come 1st March 2021.
To facilitate proper Planning and Seasoning of Poles, a Licensee shall place Pole Orders with Wooden Pole Suppliers at least Six (6) Months in advance and the Licensee shall inspect the premises of a Wooden Pole Supplier to confirm that the Supplier has the following:
(i) Adequate space for storing Pole Stock and Seasoning for a period of at least Six (6) Months to ensure the right moisture content in accordance with the UNBS Standards;
(ii) Adequate equipment to facilitate the Handling and Movement of Poles;
(iii) A Pole Treatment Plant; and,
(iv) Adequate equipment to Test the Poles after Treatment.