EWSA looks to private sector to boost services

Attracting private investors in electricity production and supply will be prioritised by the energy body to cut costs incurred by the government, Ntare Karitanyi, the new director general of Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), has said.
Karitanyi (left) shakes hands with Muyange after receiving tools of  office on Monday. The New Times/ Johm Mbanda
Karitanyi (left) shakes hands with Muyange after receiving tools of office on Monday. The New Times/ Johm Mbanda

Attracting private investors in electricity production and supply will be prioritised by the energy body to cut costs incurred by the government, Ntare Karitanyi, the new director general of Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), has said.

“EWSA is not an island and will need more parties in the electricity rollout programme,” Karitanyi said on Monday during the handover ceremony at EWSA headquarters. "We will need more involvement of the private sector in energy and water supply in order to reach the targets set out for the country," he said, adding that he would use his experience accumulated in the private sector to create more private-public partnerships that will enhance the sector’s productivity.

Karitanyi replaced Yves Muyange, who headed EWSA since 2008. Robert Nyamvumba succeeded Yussuf Uwamahoro as the deputy director general. An industrial engineer by profession, Karitanyi previously served as the director of energy at a private firm, Digitech Solutions, and also as an expert for ICT applications at Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency.

The new EWSA head believes that bringing on board private investors to produce and supply electricity and water, would boost the entity’s efficiency.

Karitanyi joins EWSA at a time after the government has revised the power targets for the country, from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of households to be connected to electricity by 2017.

When his predecessor Muyange joined EWSA in 2008, electricity access stood at six per cent, but five years down the road, it is at 16 per cent. Although it is just four years left to 2017, Karitanyi is bullish that the 70 per cent target is within reach.

“Let us not forget that Rwanda has the advantage of being a small country. Therefore, even 100 per cent connectivity is possible by 2017 if we accelerate the rate of connection.

“We have vast energy resources and many people deep in the villages have already been connected to electricity,” he said.

“In order to transform the energy and water sector, as well as the sanitation aspect, teamwork at EWSA and the line ministry will not be a choice, but a neccessity  for us to deliver at the highest level.”

EWSA stretched its grid to connect 2,000km per 100,000 households a year to reach its targets. This caused the operation costs to shoot up because 50 per cent of the customers connected in the last two years consume less than 25 kilowatts of electricity per month.

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