GATSIBO — Electrogaz, Rwanda’s sole hydro electricity and water supply utility won the project category in the 2007 Annual Pre-payment Innovation Awards in South Africa and we would wish them preserve the reputation.
It is however, intriguing when some of their staff undermine this prestigious award.
Though the local communities used to lack access to services like electricity and piped water, today the leadership has worked successfully in bringing these services closer to the people, greatly improving people’s way of life.
However, it is absurd to note that some of the very people that provide the services that are dearly craved are the very ones abusing their client’s rights to use them.
When people appreciate your service and later get hooked and can’t do without it, it would be unfair to take them for granted.
Electricity and water are so vital to people even in villages that without such services a lot of homes and business suffer.
I will cite Electrogaz staff from Nyagatare responsible for offering these services in Gatsibo; instead of service delivery, their staff only do what one would call a dis-service to the community.
We are aware that these services are not free of charge; they carry a fee at the end of the month and one deserves nothing but good service for his money.
But it is not proper for the service provider to terminate its services without prior warning of its clients.
It is not understandable why one would disconnect water and power without prior warning and when a customer tries to compound it all, he is presented with a list of previous debts.
It is common knowledge that any company without proper controls is bound to lose a lot of money from un-cleared bills which might have caused Electrogaz, to incur a loss of about Frw 1.5 billion in un-paid bills over a period of nine months in 2005.
The huge debt incurred between January and September that prompted Electrogaz to disconnect the defaulting clients, half of which is owed by government departments, should not be transferred on innocent individuals.
It should be noted that in Gatsibo the number of customers using electricity has increased over time and the system being used in assessing payments should be computerized instead of relying on inadequate staff to do the work manually.
Also many premises if not all in Gatsibo have no cash power facilities. If cash meters were installed as promised by the area manager Clement Nkuruziza, a promise which is yet to bear fruit, a lot of inconveniences would be minimized.
People in Gatsibo are not ready to entertain debts accumulated three years ago partly due to your laxity which led the customers evade the bills.
Whereas some people are still occupying the premises it is inevitable that due to poor storage they may have lost the receipts and it would be unfair to disconnect such people.
Equally annoying is the arrogance with which these meter readers go about their work.