Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) has proposed new energy saving initiatives as demand soars amid a shortfall in supply. Rwanda currently produces 85 megawatts of electricity, which is the same demand at peak hours.
“In case of any maintenance of one plant, it causes a deficit. We do load shedding when carrying out maintenance,” said Mark Murenzi Rukata, EWASA Director of Electricity Utility.
Lack of reserves has prompted the authority to appeal to consumers to preserve energy, especially during peak hours, usually between 5:00 p.m and 10 pm when demand is at its highest.
“The energy that we save, would be supplied to other consumers,” he said, urging the public to use energy-saving bulbs.
Lately, Rwandans have experienced the problem of load-shedding, which EWSA attributes to maintenance of power plants.
The country also has some of the highest power tariffs in the region, yet, EWSA continues to post losses. The authority forecasts to break-even in 2014 by investing in cheaper energy generation systems.
Mid this year, energy prices rose by 20 per cent, on average. EWSA said the move was due to a global rise in prices of iron, steel and copper—the raw materials used in the manufacture of transformers and cables as well as the volatility in the foreign exchange market.
Energy costs for industries working during peak hours were raised to Rwf140 per kWh excluding VAT, up from Rwf105 kWh.
Government is investing heavily in the energy sector to avert the shortfall in supply as well as bringing down energy costs to stimulate business growth.
Projects in progress to mitigate the power shortage include Kivu Watt, which is expected to produce some 25MW of electricity by the end this year. Others are Nyabarongo hydro power project, expected to produce 28MW by end 2013 plus tapping of peat and solar energy projects.
According to the 2012/13 budget, priority projects in infrastructure development include the proposed Nyabarongo hydro-power and Micro-Hydros totalling $ million which will generate around 15 megawatts of electricity.