Among the development targets set by the Government of Rwanda, universal access to electricity is included in a bid to accelerate development and improve service delivery in the private and public institutions.
In this regard, in 2014, a Belgian-sponsored project was initiated to Improving Access to reliable on Grid Electricity Services for Households and Priority public institutions such as administrative offices, health centers and health posts, schools as well as other small business and industrial activities.
The project, worth about 39 million euros was implemented by the Rwanda Energy Corporation (REG) through its Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL) in its Electricity Access Rollout Program (EARP).
This project started in 2014 and has three main phases. The two first phases are already completed, while the third is expected to complete in February 2022. Some of the major achievements of the project include the construction of more than 1000 kilometers of distributions lines in Rwamagana, Kayonza, Ngoma and Kirehe Districts which enabled the electrification of more than 44,500 households.
Major components of such on-grid electricity infrastructure normally have a lifespan of over 20 years. The electricity networks laid down by this project will, therefore, continue to contribute to economic growth, employment generation and improvements in health and education facilities in the region over many years to come.
Today over 160,000 people who previously had had no access to electricity, are now benefiting from a reliable and affordable power supply. In addition, the project has connected 33 schools, 14 health facilities, over 400 businesses and SMEs, as well 24 public administration institutions.
The project also funded the renovation and upgradation of the 50 km power distribution network in Rubavu, located on Rwanda’s western border. This network was built 45 years ago. It needed to be upgraded and aligned with the current demand and technology. Therefore, the project built 11 switching substations which enabled to improve the quality of power supply and reduce the number and duration of power cuts.
Currently, through the 3rd phase of this project, 194 kilometers of electricity distribution lines in the Eastern Province are being upgraded from single-phase to “three-phase”. The aim is to increase the load on these lines in order to satisfy the demand of the growing number of consumers of electricity. This upgrade will include the replacement of 113 transformers to ensure that the lines capacity is load is increased from 17.32kV to 30kV.
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