State to continue investing in rural electrification

Rural Electrification Authority

GOVERNMENT says it will continue investing in rural electrification programmes to alleviate poverty and ensure that Zambians enjoy socio-economic development.
Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Charles Zulu said reliable electricity is a key driver of the country’s economy hence the need to invest in rural electrification.
Mr Zulu said this here yesterday during the official commissioning of the K7.7 million Jerusalem Grid Extension project in Luangeni constituency.
The project was constructed by Yengatech Limited under the supervision of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA).
“The Patriotic Front (PF) government will relentlessly endeavour to take electricity infrastructure to all rural areas sooner than later so that our people in rural areas can enjoy the benefits of socio-economic development,” he said.
The deputy minister said Government wants to ensure that Zambians, regardless of where they live, have good quality life.
Mr Zulu said the electrification of Jerusalem area is one of the 21 grid extension projects Government commenced in 2012 through REA at a total cost of K149 million.
He said the availability of electricity is meant to enable people in rural areas enjoy improved standards of living and quality of life.
And REA corporate affairs manager Justin Mukosa said the Jerusalem grid is one of the 21 grid extension projects that REA started implementing towards the end of 2012.
Mr Mukosa said eight of the projects have been completed while the rest are at different stages of implementation.
Mr Mukosa said 1,437 new connections will be made once the 21 grid extension projects are completed.
He said the Jerusalem project involved the construction of a 37km/11kv overhead line from the existing line from Msupazi. The project will supply power to eight public institutions and two palaces.
The institutions to be supplied with power are Jerusalem Basic School, Jerusalem Rural Health Centre, farmers’ training institutes, Maguya Basic School, Maguya Palace and Mtande Basic School.
Others are Nyakalungu Basic School, Champande Rural Health Centre, Saili Basic School and Saili Palace.
Mr Mukosa said the next scope of work for the 2013 projects will include the cost of internal wiring of the targeted beneficiaries unlike in the past where recipient institutions had to undertake internal wiring of their structures.
And Chief Maguya of the Ngoni-speaking people of Eastern Province said he is happy with the electrification of the area because it will boost development in his chiefdom.
Zesco regional manager Yobe Mukonka said the utility company is determined to increase access to electricity especially in rural areas in with line with Government’s policy.
Mr Mukonka said the electrification of domestic customers will be done at a subsidised price.