Different power lines which were built long ago in various parts of the Eastern Province are now being upgraded to meet the demand due to the growing number of households and businesses being connected to the grid in the region.
This upgrade projects was funded by Belgium through its development agency, (Enabel), and it was implemented by the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) through its subsidiary company in charge of energy development, (EDCL)
According to Reuben Ahimbisibwe, the acting coordinator of the Electricity Access Rollout Program, the project will upgrade 194 kilometers of electricity distribution lines and increase their load to satisfy the demand of the growing power consumers.
“These lines were constructed long ago when the number of customers to be connected was still low, and they were using it for low consuming needs such as light, radio, tv and other home-based activities. Today, we are upgrading these lines from single phase to three phase to be able to satisfy the demand from industrial and commercial consumers . ”
He said that this upgrade will include the replacement of 113 transformers to ensure that the lines capacity is load is increased from 17.32kV to 30kV. The network upgraded covers Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza, Rwamagana, Ngoma and Kirehe Districts.
"The aim is to enable businesses and people located in the area to be able to use this electricity for income generating activities. Our country’s target of universal access to electricity is not only limited to lighting and home based use, but to provide opportunities to people who have businesses and projects that need three-phase electricity to be able to implement them, and also to develop the industrial sector and businesses in general. ” he said.
Reuben also says that so far, 43 kilometers of the network in Kirehe and Nyagatare Districts have already been completed and energized.
In Nyagatare, the upgrade is at an advanced stage
Niyonkuru Benoit, the manager of REG branch in Nyagatare District says that the District has many areas supplied by a single phase network. These include Rukomo, Nyagatare, Katabagemu, Mimuri, Gatunda, Mukama and Kiyombe Sectors.
Benoit says that the upgrade works are advanced at the level of 80% and that in a short period the whole network in Nyagatare will be upgraded.
“As of today, most of the lines located in Mimuri and Karama Sectors have been completed and energized. Our customers who need to be provided with three-phase electricity are being connected without any problems and we are confident that by the end of this month we will start energizing other remaining lines.” He said.
In Katabagemu Sector, one of the sectors that has been provided with three-phase electricity, the residents are happy with this development achieved. They say that they were usually provided with single-phase electricity, but industrialists used to complain over voltage drop.
Mugemana Johnson is the accountant at a milk collection center of Katabagemu Farmers’ Cooperative. He says that before the upgrade of their electrical network, they were obliged to use a fuel generator.
“The single phase electricity couldn’t run our machines. Therefore, we were obliged to use a fuel power electrical generator to be able cool our produce. We used to spend around 800,000 Rwfs on fuel every month. Today, we no longer need to use our generators and the cost of power has tremendously reduced”
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