REA lights up 10 per cent of rural areas

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has brought power and light to a mere 10 per cent of rural areas countrywide, but the figure is likely to improve following commissioning of the Hotspeck Pole treatment plant in Nyakamiti industrial area.

The new plant, installed in July, is now operating smoothly and is likely to meet its target of fast-tracking rural electrification, says the plant’s board chairman, Fungai Mbetsa.

Mbetsa also said the plant would meet its target of producing 50,000 poles a year within the next five years – the current rate is 24,000 poles a year. Hotspeck is expected to ensure a constant supply of quality poles at a reasonable price for the rural electrification programme.

REA’s traditional pole suppliers have been exporting treated poles to stay in business. As a result, REA has only managed to light up 7,350 rural institutions, including 946 villages, plus primary and secondary schools, rural registry centres, government extension offices, business centres, small-scale farms and other institutions such as community halls and churches.

Mbetsa said the plant was already considering exports of its own to expand its income possibilities.

“The excess wood poles are sold locally, while others will be exported in the region making the agency self-sufficient in wood poles. Other players in the timber industry are also expected to benefit from increased capacity the plant has created in the industry,” said Mbetsa.

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