Rwanda faced severe power shortages in 2004 when generation capacities could not keep up with demand. Since that crisis generation capacities have increased significantly, but still remain at a low level compared with the size of the country’s growing economy.
As part of efficiency measures to improve the system load factor, time of use tariffs were introduced for industrial consumers in May 2010. These tariffs were established to create incentives for industries to shift production from peak hours (17.00-23.00) to off-peak hours (23.00-7.00).
Rwanda still has a low rate of access to electricity despite the outstanding efforts made to increase it from 9.5% in mid-2010 to 16% in 2012. The government has launched an ambitious programme to increase access to electricity. The Electricity Access Roll-out Program (EARP) was set up in 2010 to finance and implement rural electrification projects.
Rwanda’s electricity generation capacity amounted to around 111 MW in 2014. About 59% of installed capacity is made up of hydropower plants, which have generated the bulk of electricity in Rwanda since the 1960s, with capacities ranging from 0.1 MW to 12 MW. Fossil fuel plants make up 47% of installed capacity and are powered by diesel or heavy fuel oil. There is also a pilot methane gas fired power plant fired accounting for 3% of capacity.
In 2012 Rwanda imported 82 GWh (net) of power, comprising electricity from the Rusizi I and II hydropower plants (contracted capacity: 3.5 MW and 12 MW). The plants are operated by Société Internationale d’Electricité des Pays des Grands Lacs (SINELAC) and Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL) respectively, both under a tri-national agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.