Energy bills to fall as regulator lowers tariffs

Energy bills for consumers supplied by Umeme Limited will fall in the second quarter to reflect a reduction in international fuel prices, according to a schedule published by the regulator.

The Electricity Regulatory Authority reduced power prices by 0.35%, on average, from the tariffs set for the first quarter. The new prices will apply to bills issued by Umeme between April and June. Other monthly charges such as the service charge and value-added tax remain unchanged.

The largest average price decline was for the medium industries category, falling 0.7% to Shs570.9 per unit. The average tariff for commercial consumers reduced to Shs645.6 per unit, 0.6% less than in the first quarter. Average tariffs for large industries and extra-large industries decreased by 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, to Shs361/kWh and Shs301.7/kWh.

For domestic consumers, the price of a unit of electricity reduced to Shs750.9, 0.1% less than the unit price in the first three months of the year. But the first 15 units used by consumers in this category every month are billed at a lifeline rate of Shs250 each; the discounted rate is intended to subsidise low-income households.

Electricity tariffs (Shs per unit) for Q2 2020
*The declining block tariff is applicable for energy consumed above a certain threshold
Consumer category Time of use Q1 2020 Q2 2020 % change
Domestic First 15 units in a month 250 250 0.0%
Above 15 units 751.7 750.9 -0.1%
Commercial Peak 849.1 845.3 -0.4%
Shoulder 650.6 646.8 -0.6%
Off-peak 392.2 388.4 -1.0%
Average 649.4 645.6 -0.6%
Medium industries Peak 773 768.7 -0.6%
Shoulder 575.6 571.3 -0.7%
Off-peak 319.5 315.2 -1.3%
Average 575.2 570.9 -0.7%
Large industries
(*Declining block)
Peak 483.5 482.1 -0.3%
(470.1) (468.7) -0.3%
Shoulder 363.7 362.3 -0.4%
(353.6) (352.2) -0.4%
Off-peak 245 243.6 -0.6%
(238.2) (236.8) -0.6%
Average 362.4 361 -0.4%
Extra-large industries
(*Declining block)
Peak 396.1 395.6 -0.1%
(289.2) (288.7) -0.2%
Shoulder 302.2 301.8 -0.1%
(220.7) (220.2) -0.2%
Off-peak 231.3 230.9 -0.2%
(168.9) (168.4) -0.3%
Average 302.2 301.7 -0.2%
Street lighting   370 370 0.0%

The regulator reviews and sets electricity prices every quarter based on changes in the international prices of fuel, the exchange rate, inflation, and the electricity generation mix.

The decline in the second quarter tariffs reflects an 11.8% decline in the price of an oil barrel between February and November 2019, according to ERA. All the other factors considered in the decision rose in that period, with core consumer prices registering the highest increase of 0.7%.