Once isolated Bweyeye residents jubilate as homes get electricity

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An electricitian installs power in a trading centre in Bweyeye Sector Steven Muvunyi.

Located several kilometres off the main road in Rusizi District, Bweyeye Sector was previously considered a remote and isolated place.

It had no electricity until Monday, this week, when power reached the sector in fulfillment of a promise President Paul Kagame made when he visited the area back in 2013.

Aphrodis Sindayiheba, the sector executive secretary, said electricity will facilitate creation of off-farm jobs in this sector that has a population of 15, 560 people, most of whom are engaged in agriculture.

He said, apart from schools and health centres, more than 395 households have already been connected to electricity, while another 1,800 households ( out of 3,514) will be connected within months.

“Good leadership made the impossible possible. We hope services will improve as well as people’s daily lives,” he said.

Emmanuel Kamanzi, the managing director of Energy Development Corporation Ltd, explained that it required a lot of effort to bring energy to one of the farthest places in the country.

“It was very difficult to bring electricity to such a secluded and mountainous region,” he said.

The government set the target of 70 per cent of national electricity coverage by 2018. The trend is at 34 per cent currently, according to Kamanzi.

He cited challenges that hamper electricity distribution such as scattered settlements but maintains that the government is on track to achieve the set target.

Kamanzi added that due to difficulties in grid system, the government has turned to off the grid and mini-grids to boost electricity access.

Kamanzi revealed that extending electricity toBweyeye cost 9 million US dollars.

Residents react

Residents of Bweyeye welcomed the development, saying it will enable them to invest into milling, hairdressing, welding among other ventures that required them to travel long distance.

Selemani Haganjimana said, “Since it was dark, we were forced to go home early. Now we will increase working hours as well as businesses, and thus improve production,” he said.

“Electricity is an important utility and it is certainly going to change our lives. For instance, education quality will improve because students will study at ease, to mention but a few. We are grateful for everything the government is doing for us,” said Consolata Mukarukundo.

Electricity seemed to be a godsend for many residents of Bweyeye, such as Epiphanie Mukansabyumuremyi.

“We never expected such an important milestone in such a remote area. We all may not get electricity at the go but we all hope to get connected soon,” she said.

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