NYAGATARE-The National Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), has disconnected hundreds of residents in Mimuri Sector over unpaid bills.
The affected residents are part of over 4,000 homes connected to the national electricity grid in Nyagatare under the government rural electrification program in 2008.
EWSA officials claim that the residents were each offered a grace period of two years after which they would pay a subscription of Rwf 56,640 but many failed to do so.
“This was a subscription that would allow every beneficiary to stay connected. But many residents refused to pay yet they were given a grace period of two years. That’s why we decided to disconnect them,” said an EWSA field official.
EWSA director in Nyagatare, Vedaste Kanamugire, urged residents to clear their power bills.
“There was enough time given to pay this money…but now time has come and we remind those who did not pay that we cannot leave you connected. This money helps government in its electrification program,” he explained.
However, most of the residents who spoke to The New Times on Monday claimed that they had paid the bills but lost supporting documents.
“I personally paid this money but the bank did not provide me with bank slips,” one of the residents claimed.
But Kanamugire advised residents with such claims to seek the documents from the banks.
“Those with bank slips will immediately be reconnected. We are ready to facilitate you and clear that issue,” he said.
During the inspection, EWSA officers nabbed three residents who had illegally reconnected power to their homes.
Kanamugire warned that any individual found with illegal connections will be fined Rwf 1million and for organisations, the fine is Rwf 10million.
In the framework of the Electricity Access Rollout Program, the government targets 350,000 connections nationwide by the year 2012.
To achieve sustainable economic growth, the country plans to increase electricity access by up to 35 percent by 2020.