After four frustrating days of long queues of people seeking to purchase electricity recharge vouchers, the Energy Utility Corporation Ltd (EUCL) has said it is tirelessly working with all stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the issue.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, utility’s Director for Commercial Services, Wilson Karegeya, blamed the failure on a system breakdown that couldn’t allow their biggest vendor to connect to his company.
Karegeya said the frustration mostly stems from the fact that most people are going cashless, choosing to use their phones for utility purchases.
He also said the recent change in tariff had made many anxious to purchase power and see what the change meant, and in the process, they overloaded the system.
The new tariff that was announced by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), last month, and took effect on January 1, saw water and electricity prices reduced.
“Since January 1, there has been a system breakdown between UECL and one of our dealers through whom we sell electricity. Their system had issues connecting to UECL system and because that dealer has about 50 per cent of electricity dealership, around 50 per cent of our customers got inconvenienced. We, however, moved in fast to redirect customers to other dealers and selling points,” he said.
Karegeya said, so far, the dealer has restored 40 per cent of his system though purchasing electricity using one’s phone is still impossible with MTN and Tigo platforms.
You can now use mobile banking, street retailers, and supermarkets but a problem remains with MTN Mobile Money and Tigo Cash, which the dealer intentionally, in consultation with our IT department, switched off to reduce the load so that they reduce the pressure on the system. Otherwise, the rest are selling. There were some queues yesterday but they have gone down and we are recovering,” he said.
In a message sent to their clients yesterday, MTN-Rwanda said it was still impossible to purchase cash power using its mobile money service.
“Due to a technical issue with our providers, purchasing cash power via MTN Mobile Money is still unavailable. We will inform you as soon as it is resolved,” the message read.
In May, last year, EUCL had to suspend its two-week plans to upgrade its pre-paid cash power meter system when a surge in demand for electricity purchase overwhelmed its systems. .