By Goth Mohamed Goth
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources on Monday solved long-standing contention between residents of Burao town and HECO Electricity Company over the high bills.
Mr. Mohamed Yusuf the director-general in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals read the following points agreed upon by the Ministry of Energy, Togdheer regional administration, and HECO Electricity Company meant to address the grievances of the residents.
- The electricity company shall reduce the amount charged per watt by 20% that was 0.79 dollars per unit to 0.63 per unit, which is good news for the residents of Burao.
- The reasons the Ministry of Energy officials are here in Burao is to address the grievances of the residents among them specific type of electricity meters that the company demands while installing electricity to households in Burao; We have agreed that it’s not compulsory that the company ties its customers to a specific meter and this is evident in the company forms.
- Customers of the company are hereby obliged to pay their monthly electricity bills on time.
- We also agree that the company should be more diligent and improve its service, and should note that people are going through difficult times and should not cut off electricity hurriedly and make many compromises.
- We have agreed with customers to file a complaint with the company’s authorities for the first time if the complaints fail to be addressed, and then they should report to the regional office of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, and stop resorting to ways that breach the laws of the country and social media sites.
- While the Ministry of Energy and Minerals protects the rights of the customers to access reliable and affordable electricity, it also safeguards the investor’s rights and at the same time reckons that the electricity utility company invests some of its profits by lighting up the city’s mosques, police stations, streetlights and the city general hospital free of charge.
- In order to provide quality electricity and protect against electrical hazards, the company will submit to the Ministry of Energy a new plan for the city’s electrical power supply system.
- While maintaining public safety at all times, every time company decides to expand the new electricity system, it must inform and approved by the Ministry of Energy regional office and in accordance with the manual and electrical guidance set by Ministry.
- The Solar Energy Initiative, ESRES, funded by the British Government for the Government of Somaliland, has been implemented through the ministry and is part of the partnership with Heco. The ESRES Grant allowed HECO to increase its generation capacity with an additional 500kWp Solar PV with a VONCH fuel-saving system. Most of these people are concentrated in four villages within Burao: Adan Saleban; Kosar; Samir and Iman; and Ali Hussein. Unlike the rest of the population in Burao, the IDP households do not have access to electricity due to economic constraints. Prior to ESRES, HECO had already successfully installed 1MW of solar PV that had been synchronized with its existing diesel.
- Generally, the laws of the country state that Electricity companies cannot raise or lower electricity prices without the approval of the Somaliland Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
- The installation of electricity in buildings lies solely with the owner/landlord and tenants can’t not in any way or manner tempering with the meters thus preventing the loss of revenue or damage.
It is good news for the Burao community who used to get cheap water and are now getting cheap electricity, and we would like to hear from the people of Togdheer community that the government of President Muse Bihi will listen to and take into account the complaints from the public that is why we are in Togdheer region. We urge you to refrain from using social media outlets in expressing your anger.
Mr. Hamse Mohamed Abdi Walaalaye, the governor of Togdheer region, on his part, said that it was imperative that a suitable solution had been reached.
Mr. Yusuf Abdi Muraad, the Mayor of Burao said “It is not possible for me to turn my back to the people who elected me and support the company, that won’t happen.
Mr. Mohamed Yusuf Ismail, the director-general in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals welcomed the agreement and thanked the ministry and the mayor of Burao and the mayor of Togdheer region for managing director of Heco Electricity Company.