Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Power supply to stabilise in three weeks, EWSA says

EWSA workers fixing electricity lines in the city recently. The New Times/ File
The annoying load-shedding that is fast becoming the order of the day will be contained in three weeks, the Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (ESWA) has said. 

In an announcement on Monday, EWSA said power interruptions, which began on March 19, were due to the collapse of two 110KV towers transmitting power from the Jabana substation to the main substation in Gikondo.

“The towers succumbed to heavy rain. We also discovered that they had sustained immense damage caused by vandals who broke pieces of steel from it, which made them weaker against the rain and wind,” Prosper Mubera, the head of public relations and communications at EWSA, told The New Times in an interview yesterday.

“We are working hard to ensure that normal power distribution is restored at least within 25 days or less. We are also inspecting other pylons and towers. We also urge the authorities to work to apprehend people who damage public property,” he added.

The damage cost EWSA 30 mega watts per hour through the electricity lines and it estimates to spend about Rwf6 million on repair works. The energy supplier laid out a load-shedding schedule for the affected areas, which runs until March 31.

“We had an electricity access rate of 16 per cent by the end of 2012, and through the 2011-17 electrification strategy, we are targeting 70 per cent by 2017,” said Ntare Karitanyi, the EWSA director-general.


Meanwhile, the power regulator has also announced new measures to check fire outbreaks caused by short circuits.

EWSA said it is stepping up crackdown on fake cables and other materials, which are unable to sustain electrification.

“We are planning to deal with construction companies and individuals whereby one will need to submit a certificate from Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) proving the efficiency and sustainability of the materials they want to use before installing electricity in buildings,” Robert Nyamvumba, deputy director-general for energy, told reporters last week.

Nyamvumba added that EWSA does not deal with installation, but the public often blames the regulator for all errors leading to fire outbreaks or blackouts.

“They transmit high voltage power using weak cables,” Raphaël Muzungu, an electrical engineer at Kigali International Airport, said.

In September, last year, RBS published findings on substandard cables, and ordered the traders to ship them back from where they were imported. 

RBS says substandard electrical cables can easily lead to fire outbreaks because they are weaker than the original ones.


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