It has become a normal trend that everytime it rains either in Rwanda’s capital Kigali or upcountry, Rwandans expect power outage.
In some places, power goes off for as long as an hour or more. At some point, poeple take to social media to accuse Rwanda Energy Group – the country’s Energy supplier of intentionally disconnecting electricity to save its infrastructure from possible damage.
KT Press asked Ron Weiss – Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Energy Group (REG) what is behind temporary power outage in the country.
Weiss who was appointed as REG boss in May last year, admitted there is an issue of power outage especially when it rains, but attributed it to ongoing transformation of the old power supply infrastructure.
“Yes, there is power outage issues especially on our supply lines that get affected by the weather. But this is being worked on and the issue will be no more two years from now,” Weiss told KT Press on Tuesday, October 16.
He was witnessing the signing of a $269 million (about Rwf237 billion) financing loan between Rwanda and African Development Bank (AfDB).
The financing, according to Finance Minister Dr. Uziel Ndagijimana, is meant to drive the country’s plan for universal power supply by 2024 up from current 46%.
This means connecting 3 million more Rwandans from now.
While the country has such an ambitious target, Weiss told KT Press that on another part, REG is tirelessly fixing infrastructure issues which he said can’t be done overnight.
“This can’t be done in one day, but we are doing our best to solve it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Dr. Uziel Ndagijimana who signed the deal said: “This project will be key milestone in improvig reliability of electricity supply which will positively impact our economic growth, promote our private-sector-led job creating growth, particularly for the youth and reduce poverty.”
Of the total $269 million signed today, said Finance Minister Dr. Ndagijimana, 28% of it will be spent on electricity reliability, 64% for on-grid electricity; 6% for off-grid while 3% of the financing will be spent on institutional and capacity building at Rwanda Energy Group.
The funds were offered into two parts; $194 million was provided by AfDB and $75 million is from Africa Development Fund (ADF).
Finance Minister Dr. Ndagijimana said that $194 million will be repaid at a 1.35% interest rate in 25 years with a grace period of 8 years, while $75 million will be repaid in 40 years at 0.75% interest rate with 5 years grace period.
Martha Phiri – AfDB Country Manager who signed on the bank’s side, told KT Press that: “The bank’s energy portfolio in Rwanda will increase from €158.95 million to €388.74 million, supporting 8 operations, three of which are being implemented jointly with neighbouring states,” she said.