On and Off Essay

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n recent weeks, Kigali residents have been complaining about the poor performance of the Energy and Water Sanitation Authority (EWSA), especially recurring power blackouts, but also water supply problems. Though there have been problems before, the last two days saw areas like Kicukiro and Kanombe being hit by power cuts of more than five hours, and in some neighborhoods even the entire day. "The power cuts were due to parts stolen from two masts which resulted in them falling over," explained EWSA DG Ntare Karitanyi on Thursday. "The stolen parts include pins and screws, and when the heavy rains and wind occured, the masts collapsed." The incident occurred in at Jabana-Gikondo substation (in the marshland near Kabuye sugar factory) and the masts in question are high-voltage ones of 110 Megawatts. According to the official, it will take time for the problem to be fixed as it is in a marshland where it takes longer for the new foundations for the masts to dry. "Meanwhile, we have been able to connect some areas to other lines while, but this is not possible everywhere so those areas will have to wait for some more time for the masts to be fixed," said Robert Nyamvumba, deputy-DG in charge of energy. Karitanyi urged people in their own interest not to touch any EWSA equipment. "Rwandans have to change their mindset and remember that they are the first beneficiaries of public infrastructure, so when they steal parts from a mast in their neighborhood they will themselves suffer from the power blackouts." Concerning brief power cuts which sometimes leave electronic equipments damaged, Karitanyi said that in such cases people have to inform the nearest EWSA station so that a technician can determine the source of the damage, and if it is due to a power cut, the insurance will pay. "Many people still ignore that but we really pay for the damaged equipment," he said.

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