Rwanda Energy Group (REG) has embarked on upgrading power stations supplying electricity in various areas in the country to ensure efficiency of power supply.
The recently appointed chief executive of REG, Ron Weiss, said some substations supplying various parts of the country are old and need upgrade to supply efficiently without frequent outage.
Weiss was speaking at the weekend in Musanze District while touring Mukungwa hydro power, whose transformer is being upgraded.
He said the upgrading activities started in Mukungwa hydro-power plant transformer from 5 megavolt amps (MVA) to 15MVA as the transformer is overloaded and results into power outage in the areas supplied by the station namely Musanze, Rubavu and Nyabihu areas.
A megavolt amp is a unit used for measuring apparent power. The apparent power refers to the total current and voltage in an electrical circuit.
He said at some of the substations, equipment are old and overloaded, resulting into unstable energy supply.
According to the officials, there was an overstretched MV line supplying Musanze, Rubavu areas, requiring many trips of electricity from other stations to reach the area, losses of generation connected to the area, among others.
“The (upgraded) transformer is much bigger, we had 5MVA but now we have 15MVA, so the transformer is three times the size and we hope that citizens will (supplied by the substation) will be happy as supply will be enough and no more outages will be there,” added Weiss.
The upgrade activities will be completed next month, the officials said.
Mukungwa hydropower was constructed in 1982 and was first upgraded in 2005 to provide more energy as desired at the time, officials said.
It currently has the capacity to generate 12 megawatts.
According to Weiss, there is need to always balance between the demand and all other systems and all the power stations to always have the capacity to distribute more power than demanded.
Weiss also said that one of the biggest problems REG faces is dealing with losses it is currently incurring adding that they have started putting in place meters that will help them detect beforehand where the problem is.
He said there are two kinds of losses; technical – incurred due to the inefficiency of the transmission lines, which is why they need to ensure they are all fixed and have in place a monitoring system that will ensure any breakdown is fixed in real time.
“The other losses are commercial in nature where some clients are connected without approval of the company. We are disconnecting them and encouraging compliance with the standard procedures,” he said.
The regulator says it is reducing the losses at a rate of one per cent annually, but aiming higher.
“Of course, it will demand a lot of investment but we will do whatever we can because in the end those, losses are money we are losing and this money can help us to provide more electricity to the people,” said Weiss.
Other upgrade activities
Emmanuel Kamanzi, managing director of Energy Development Cooperation Ltd, said Gifurwe substation in Rulindo is being upgraded while more others will be worked on next year.
Such projects include Nyabihu substation (to be constructed) and Rubavu substation.
There are 22 power stations countrywide.
Currently, REG has a generation capacity of 208 megawatts, less than half of the 2018 target, while the connection rate stands at about 32 per cent.