Tajikistan has faced a challenging energy situation since becoming an independent state in 1991. Due to breaking up of energy relations with neighbor former republics of Soviet Union, Tajikistan, being oil- and gas- dependent country and having no other alternatives than electricity, became not able to cover country energy needs in peak winter moths and started to limit electricity supply. As result last two decades about 85 percent of country population seasonally has access to electricity only for 3-6 hours daily (October -April). Such situation led to massive violation of consumer rights, unequal distribution, high level of corruption, misdealing and power theft, aggravating by low level of sector governance, absence of transparency and accountability. Unreliable and unpredictable electricity supply meant that households were left to fend for themselves in the freezing winter months, often with no information of when electricity will disappear or reappear.
Addressing these issues CUT has initiated in 2005 campaign on consumers’ right protection and fair access to electricity. From 2005 to 2008 CU established and launched work of consumer protection centers in main administrative centers of Tajikistan. The centers provided pre-trial legal services and court protection for electricity consumers. During the course of work CU developed new campaign on increasing transparency and accountability in electricity sector of Tajikistan. We implemented innovative technique for improving transparency about power outages, using crowd sourcing to display regional outages on www.barknest.tj
The overall aim of campaign was promoting fair access of consumers to electricity during autumn-winter season, through outage monitoring and media reports, awareness raising and establishing policy dialogue. For the beginning of campaign this information had no alternatives and was only source of information, however was not accurate.
Nowadays with more concentrated attention to energy sector it is necessary to use more comprehensive methods of electricity supply monitoring. CUT partner from India – Prayas Energy Group - recently launched new automatic service of tracking outages and voltage using devices with SimCards.
'Electricity Supply Monitoring Initiative (ESMI) is an initiative conceptualised, developed and implemented in India by Prayas (Energy Group), Pune, India. It was publically launched in March 2015 in India and currently covers several hundred locations across India. Visit www.watchyourpower.org or www.prayaspune.org/peg for more information. PEG is knowledge partner for ESMI in Tajikistan'.
Through the implementation of ESMI we will develop a reliable database on supply interruptions and voltage levels at consumer locations in Indonesia. This electricity data provided by ESMI would be publicly available, all stakeholders, including citizens and local authorities would be encouraged to use it. Citizens can use it to demand improved services and increased accountability by electricity service providers. For example, data collected on supply quality can be compared to performance standards set by regulators or supply in different regions can be compared to identify which marginalized communities are most affected.