For a while now, a good number of areas in Kigali and upcountry, have been left in darkness because of power black-outs. Many of these black-outs last for quite a long time because transmission cables end up destroyed during road construction.
Residents of Nyarutarama have become the latest victims; we have spent days without power because cables were destroyed by road constructors currently upgrading one of the roads in the area.
Rwandan electricians have an assumption that electricity transmission cables must be laid underground. I think this is the reason we have such frequent outages.To me, this assumption needs to change.
The underground cables may be convenient, but it’s also inconveniencing and wasteful, both for clients and the power utility company.
There is simply no reason why power lines to residential houses can’t be above the ground. In fact, there are many reasons they should be.
Moving away from underground power lines to those held up on poles would be simple because it would merely involve just adding a few more electric polls in certain instances.
Some power companies in other countries do this- but the idea is yet to be adopted by RECO-RWASCO, despite the many advantages it has.
Shifting from underground transmission would help the huge number of people who are affected every time cables are destroyed, especially during road construction, and reduce the costs of replacing the destroyed cables.
While there would be costs for the additional poles, those would be included on the cost of connection.
Rwanda is blessed with one of the best power billing system in the region. But we’re staying in darkness, a situation that can be avoided — even as the number of people being connected to the electric grid increases.