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Energy Sector

Electricity generation

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.


Electricity tariff (excl. 18% VAT)

Industrial consumers

Off-peak hours

96 RWF/kWh

Mid-peak hours

126 RWF/kWh

Peak hours

168 RWF/kWh

Household consumers

134 RWF/kWh

Source: RURA Strategic Plan 2013-2018

Share of resources in electricity generation as of 2014

Transmission and distribution network

Rwanda has around 384 km of 70 kV and 110 kV high-voltage (HV) transmission lines, and 4,900 km of medium-voltage (MV, 30 kV, 15 kV and 6.6 kV) and low-voltage (LV, 380 V and 220 V) lines. The distribution network is composed of 15 substations (HV and MV). The grid is interconnected with the networks of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

Transmission between the different national networks is managed by SINELAC. Rwanda has adopted single phase distribution lines for rural electrification.

According to the regulator, RURA, technical and non-technical losses amounted to 24.5% on average in 2013.

Source: Source: http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Project-and-Operations/Rwanda_-_Energy_Sector_Review_and_Action_Plan.pdf Source: African Development Bank


Key figures

Available statistics:
Official languages
Kinyarwanda, English, French
Population (2015 est.), m
Population growth (2015 est.), %
Compound Annual (GDP) Growth Rate, (2011-2015), %
GDP per capita (2015), USD (current rate)
Rural population (2015 est.), % of total
Ease of Doing Business Index (2014)
46 (of 189)
Median age of population (2011 est.), years
National currency
Rwandan Franc (RWF)
Installed generation capacity (2015), MW
Installed fossil fuel capacity (2015), MW
Hydro capacity (2014), MW
Other RE capacity (2015), MW
Renewable electricity output (2014), % of total electricity output excl. hydro
Capacity expansion plan target by 2017, MW
Average distribution and transmission losses (2013), % of output
Net electricity imports (2012), GWh
Peak demand (2013), MW
Per capita electricity consumption (2014), kWh
Electrification rate, total (2015), %
Electrification rate, urban (2012), %
Electrification rate, rural (2012), %
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