Rwanda’s electricity tariffs could drop in the near future despite a sharp increase in fossil and fuel prices, which account for 45 percent of the total energy costs in the country, according to Rwanda Electricity Board, RECO.
The decrease is expected to be brought about by the projected increase in domestic electricity production.
“When methane gas extraction in Lake Kivu and the hydropower projects in Rusizi III and Rusumo are finally completed, the tariffs will be adjusted according to increased supply of electricity,” Yves Muyange, the Director General of RECO/RWASCO said in a press conference on Friday.
RECO charges Rwf112 per kilo watt of electricity for small consumers and Rwf105 for large consumers, which makes Rwanda’s electricity tariffs the highest in the East African Community after Tanzania.
Muyange said that in 2010 his institution managed to maintain stable electricity charges even as it incurred high production costs due to the global increase in aluminum and copper prices.
“Electricity tariffs in neighboring countries increased due to the general cost of fossil fuels. However, our tariffs have stayed constant as we venture into other cheaper ways of producing electricity,” he said.
According to official statistics, electricity supply in the country surged to 331,076,795 KWh in 2010 from 307,789,939 KWh in 2009. But Rwanda remains an importer of energy. While domestic power generation rose to 2776,279,995KWh from 248,318,483 KWh, imports rose to 79,754,589 KWh.
Rwanda is banking on a couple of power projects to increase domestic power production and cut imports. The methane gas project in L. Kivu is expected to produce 100MW whereas Rusizi III and Rusumo hydropower dams will produce 145MW and 62 MW, respectively.
RECO’s customers increased by 23.9 percent (179,562 from 142,497), which shows that more Rwandans use electricity.
During his presentation about RECO/RWASCO’s achievements in 2010, Muyange highlighted that most of the new electricity connections are in the rural areas, indicating the body’s dedication to penetrating places without electricity.
“On top of rehabilitating seven upcountry branches, RECO had completed over 17,000 electricity networks in 13 surveyed districts,” he said.
Muyange also disclosed that RECO carried out investigations to minimize power theft and irregularities, which usually undermines the body’s effort to efficiently supply electricity countrywide.
“Last year RECO recovered Rwf94 million from fines and penalties after 119 culprits were found guilty of defrauding by tampering with electricity and water installations,” he said.