Electrogaz, a public utility for production, transmission and distribution of water and electricity in Rwanda is set to be split into two companies namely Rwanda Electricity Corporation (RECO) and Rwanda Water and Sewage Corporation (RWASCO) for better service delivery by the early next year, the company’s Director General, John Mirenge said in an Interview with The New Times.
‘The Law is out and as such we are in a transition process as the distribution of water and electricity has not been balanced. Electrogaz did not put much attention in the supply of water through out the entire country’, he added.
‘Specialisation is very much needed and we need the supply of water to also improve. They are going to be two different companies with different management systems’, Mirenge continued.
Electrogaz has developed a roll out plan within the larger national medium term economic framework-the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), where by the year 2012 a total number of up to 350,000 clients will be connected with both the electricity and water .Currently Electrogaz has 110,000 estimated customers.
These developments come months after the company signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the National Water and Sewage Corporation (NWSC), Uganda’s water regulatory body.
The MoU was meant to strengthen water efficiency and supply in Rwanda. According to Milenge, the company has managed to clinch 23,000 new connections which has swelled the numbers to 110,000 customers this year.
‘Connecting of some of rural areas already in underway. Part of this drive entails the completion and commissioning of the Kirehe connection which is about 30 kilometers from the main line. This project will connect the area to the district head quarters and later on the connection would be extended up to the border of Rusumu which is about 10 kilometers from the district head quarters’, he revealed.
Currently Electrogaz’s electricity connection rate stands at only about 6 percent of the total population. This low electricity penetration has always adversely affected the development initiatives of the country.
Thus increasing penetration rates is one of the measures of ensuring the competitiveness of the economy through provision of better forms of supply of energy.
According to Milenge, part of this drive will see places such as Gashora in Bugesera connected early next year closely followed by Gisagara, Nyaruguru, Kisaro, and Rukomo.
A company known as STEK has already been contracted to undertake the connection of these places starting first quarter of 2009.
Electrogaz has also liberalized the electric energy sub sector further by authorizing the sale of certain materials by private companies and other authorised hardware shops.
Connectivity costs has been high for some households to afford and this is expected to reduce with time after funds are available that will try to subsidize the cost to US$50 (Rwf 27,250).