On Friday, Rwanda Energy Group (REG) officially announced that it will start implementing, with immediate effect, the new reforms in the energy sector aimed at easing doing business in Rwanda.
The new reforms include the strengthening of transmission and distribution networks stability, introduction of an automated computation system to monitor power outages, and the establishment of an online portal to facilitate investors to easily access energy related services.
The new energy sector reforms were informed by the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report, which last year ranked Rwanda 119th globally on the indicator of getting electricity.
Speaking to the press at the utility body’s offices in downtown Kigali, REG officials stated that the reforms were targeting to facilitate investors through ensuring quality, affordable and reliable electricity supply. “The ultimate goal is to support Rwanda to be in the better place in doing business.
The recent rankings were not too bad but we want to do more, part of which is to increase the quality of power supply,” said Ron Weiss, the chief executive officer of REG. In the overall ranking of the 2017 Doing Business Report, Rwanda emerged 41st worldwide from 56th in the previous year. However, the report indicated that the country needed to improve on easing the process to get electricity and reliability of electricity supply, which are one of the indicators measured by the report.
Weiss noted that it is in this line that the govern REG moves to implement new doing business reforms meant moved to review existing conditions in different sectors, which saw the institution introduce new reforms to particularly improve the energy sector.
“With the new reforms, it will be easier for every new business (investing) in Rwanda to connect to electricity, and every existing business will get better quality of power supply,” he said. One of the new reforms that REG will be implementing is the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) and System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI).
Through an automated computation system, SAIDI and SAIFI which are internationally recognised network reliability measurements will be captured and this will help in monitoring power outages duration and frequency levels. According to REG, previously, these network reliability indices were not systematically captured and that this hampered the timely interventions and areas of focus during faults in the network.
“These global parameters will allow us to compare ourselves with other utilities, but more importantly, they will allow us to improve on global basis,” Weiss noted. Improvements were also made in service delivery, where an online service portal which was introduced will facilitate customers to apply for a new service without being obliged to visit REG offices across the country.
This, Jean Claude Kalisa, the managing director of Energy Utility Corporation Ltd (EUCL), said it will reduce time wasted visiting offices, travel expenses as well as cut down paper work. He said that overall, all the reforms introduced will facilitate doing business and ensure quality service delivery in the sector. Part of the reforms is also the review of the service charter, detailing service standards and showing customers what they can expect from REG, their rights and obligations, and where they can get services.
The number of days taken for new investors to get connected to the national grid will also be reduced. This week, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency had also set up guidelines governing electricity outages to industries which place sanctions on electricity outages that last more than ten minutes.
On whether the anticipated pressure in implementing the new reforms would increase the energy sector budget, the chief executive highlighted that the government committed to continue investing more money in the sector, to increase the efficiency in electricity access and supply.