KIGALI - The national power and water utility, RECO-RWSCO, explained that the persistent power blackouts that have affected the country for the last five days are due to overloading of the Rusizi II power plant which is shared between Rwanda, Burundi and DRC.
The plant is operated by The Great Lakes International Electricity Company (SINELAC). Rusizi II supplies 12MW to Rwanda; however when it is overloaded, it instead shuts down, explaining the blackouts.
The Managing Director of RECO-RWSCO, Yves Muyange, said that the interconnection with Burundi and DRC, it makes it difficult for some countries to upgrade and rehabilitate its infrastructure, thereby affecting the plant’s capacity.
“The plant’s equipment is old and unable to maintain supply. Although we have completed upgrading and rehabilitating our facility, the other countries are still lagging behind,” Muyange said.
“However, they are carrying out similar rehabilitation at the moment”.
He added that the plant is installing power limitation equipment, which will keep each country connected on the plant but on its own quota, so that it is not affected by any frequency variation that occurs in the other countries.
Muyange further revealed that RECO is in the process of replacing the main transformers at the National Power Control Centre in Gikondo, which are at the moment incapable of supplying Kigali.
“The main two transformers have been there for almost 30 years and are incapable of transmitting much energy to the national grid. However, within two months, they will be replaced with modern ones which will serve efficiently,” he said.
He urged their customers to be patient when they receive power cuts within these two months, which will be caused by activities related to replacement of the transformers.