2 years after residents of Rwamagana, Kayonza, Ngoma and Kirehe got electricity, they are now happy for this development and have started creating new businesses using this electricity.
Rwanda Energy Group provided access to electricity to these residents through the project “Improving Access to Reliable On-Grid Electricity Services for households and Priority Public Institutions”, implemented by Energy Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL), a subsidiary company of the Rwanda Energy Group (REG). This project started in 2014 and was funded by the Kingdom of Belgium. As of today, a total of 22,387 households in the East have been connected to the grid.
In addition to these households, more than 5,400 more are expected to be connected to the grid by 2020. The project is also upgrading a power line of more than 280 kilometers of LV line in the Eastern Province, from single-phase to a three-phase.
Some residents of Rwamagana District said life was hard before getting electricity as many had to travel long distances to seek electricity services.
Isaac Sarabwe, a resident of Nyarubuye Cell in Munyiginya Sector, is currently doing business in Nyarubuye center. He says that before getting electricity he was not making enough profit from his business.
“We’ve been lucky since we got the electricity. We used to burn gasoline or use candles, which cost us a lot of money and because of the smoke we were exposed to respiratory diseases. So when we got electricity we got lucky, now we work late at night and have a lot of customers and thieves no longer come at night to steal from us ”.
He also said that he has made more money from his business and was able to renovate his house which is now equipped with metallic doors.
Nzabonimana Augustin, who uses a mill machine in Munyiginya Sector, says he got the job thanks to electricity.
“I got a job when we got access to electricity. Now that I work, I can rent a house and earn a living for myself and my family. ”
Uwamahoro Delphine, the Executive Secretary of Nyarubuye Cell, says that electricity has brought a lot of positive changes.
“Here in our offices, we have light and during the night it’s easy to ensure security. Also, when we needed to use computers, it was difficult for us, but now we are using them to provide faster services such as helping the population to integrate the new-borns into the Ubudehe system, to deregister the dead, and so on.
She said that all of this was previously required to be done at the Sector office. They first had to take the time to collect applications and wait for number to increase before going work on them at the Sector office where they could get electricity. She says that this was delaying service delivery.
“Before getting electricity, those who needed welding services had to go to Karangara which is at a distance of about eight kilometers. People were spending more money going there. Even some new investors came to invest here thanks to electricity.” She added.
Muhiyumva Jean Marie, the treasurer of Nyarubuye Adventist School in Munyiginya Sector, says that electricity has helped them to do their job.
“Since we got electricity, there have been so many different things in our daily work. First, reporting is now easier as we can get internet, and in children's education it is easier for us to prepare for exams and print them out. Many changes have occurred. ”
Jean Marie also said that now every teacher can use a computer and children to easily learn ICT. He also said that the Adventist Church, which founded the school, is now able to use musical instruments without having to use generators that require expensive fuel.
Ezechiel Ndabarinze, Director of Munyiginya Health Center in Rwamagana District, said that since the day they got electricity, they have been able to provide more services and their work got easier.
“During the nights, nurses had to use torches to help the patients. Today, at night, it’s easy for nurses to find what they need and get it right away. Patients also feel safe when they go to a health center which has electricity."
Ezechiel also says that there are some medicines and vaccines which have to be stored in fridges. He said that before getting electricity, they had to go to store them at other health centers which had electricity every evening and take them back in the morning.
“You can understand the loss of time and money that we had. So now with electricity, we gained the time and the money ”.
Countrywide, REG has a customer database of more than 1 million clients connected to the national grid (38.5%) while more than 400,000 households (14.3%) are using off grid solutions.
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