Residents of Masoro and Cyinzuzi sectors in Rulindo District have since March this year lived a changed life as a result of electricity connection made in the area.
Several residents from both sectors including small and large entrepreneurs have welcomed the electricity connection and are optimistic that services will only get better.
Erneste Murenzi, 42, who owns Marenge City Pub, a bar in Rukurazo village in Masoro Sector is one the beneficiaries who says that electricity has increased his profits by 80 per cent. “Before we got electricity, I would use a generator which was so expensive. A lot of money was spent on petrol. For instance, I would use 40 litres every week (worth over Rwf 40,000). But today, I only use Rwf10,000,” he said. Having power has increased the working hours as well as attracting more customers, he added.
“No cold drinks were served here. Though we used a generator, we would only switch it on from 6:00 pm up to 10:00 pm. This limited our operating hours but today, we are open 24 hours. Electricity has contributed much to the growth of my business,” he said.
To him, the most exciting thing about having electricity in the area was to watch all games of the just-concluded World Cup 2018 from within their community which had never happened before. “Football fans would travel to other areas to watch games, but during this 2018 World Cup the residents enjoyed watching it from home.”
Narcisse Munanira, a businessman at Marenge trading centre, said that robbing was a challenge to their businesses and that working hours were limited. “We have for decades waited for electricity and our prayers are finally answered. In 1942, electricity was distributed in other parts of the country through our area but we were kept in darkness,” he said.
According to him, in the few months they have had electricity, more job opportunities have been created especially in welding, hair dressing among others which have greatly benefitted the youth. The businessman plans to expand his activities by purchasing a grains milling machine.
Another resident, Epiphanie Mukamutesi of Kamatongo village in Cyinzuzi sector, testified that having electricity in her house came as a miracle and the development sharpened her mind to start a butchery. Mukamutesi reflected on how her family struggled with candles during the night and that sometimes spent nights in darkness because of financial crisis.According to her, they would have to travel two hours to get some services like shaving, printing, among other activities and said that these services are now acquired from their community.
In the ongoing journey to reach the target of connecting all households in 2024, the percentage of homes connected in Rulindo district currently stands 37 per cent. For 2017/2018 fiscal year, the target was to connect 3,823 households but so far they have surpassed it to 4,558 households according to Chrisologue Ngendahayo the manager of REG branch in Rulindo District. He said that electricity connections have already reached all sectors, adding that what remains is to ensure each house is connected.
During 2018/2019 the fiscal year, REG plans to connect more 3,424 households though the official says that they are likely to surpass this target. In his message to the beneficiaries, the branch manager cautioned the residents against fraud and illegal activities.
He said that so far, three people have been caught in illegal activities where they were trying to illegally channel electricity to their households. “There are some people who come disguised as REG staff to cheat residents. We advise people to be cautious and alert us in case such people show up,” he added.
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