THE Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has said 8 053 rural institutions had been electrified by the end of the first quarter of this year and there are few that need to be electrified.
by BUSINESS REPORTER
Speaking at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on Monday, REA chief executive officer Joshua Mashamba said out of the 8 053 rural institutions, 415 were for solar grids, 437 mobile solar units and remote and satellite institutions, and 23 institutional biogas digesters.
The institutions include schools, clinics and growth points.
“There are a few outstanding projects which had been initiated by rural communities which are failing to raise 50% required from them. Rural Electrification Fund (REF) is following up on those and encouraging customers to make payments so that their projects can be completed.”
He said there were lines that had been energised by REF and taken over by Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC), but the electricity distribution company had no enough resources to do installations.
Mashamba said financing for REA usually came from levies, surcharge payable thereon to ZETDC, loans and donations, adding that the agency sometimes faced financial hurdles and failed to meet some of its obligations.
REA is mandated to facilitate rapid equitable provision of energy in rural communities in the country.
The agency has a board charged with the responsibility of growing the fund and implementation of the rural electrification programme.
Rural electrification is one of the major milestones in the energy sector as electricity used to be for the people who
lived in urban centres and the few minorities.
The rural electrification programme began in 2002 after the enactment of the Rural Electrification Fund Act.
The electrification project is expected to accelerate growth in rural areas. Some of the projects that have benefited from the rural electrification project include irrigation schemes, schools, health care centres, small-scale farms, mines, homesteads, villages and chief houses.
Shortage in the supply of electricity remains a challenge in the country and the government and the private sector are working towards increasing power supply.