‘For me, these offices they have brought here will help us with power connections. I have a project with REA. Way back they would tell me to wait for the people in Lusaka to come. With these offices, I have a feeling things will be better’. Precious Chikuni says

In its mandate to accelerate the electrification of rural areas to 51% by 2030, The Rural Electrification Authority REA has opened regional offices in Choma, Kasama, Chongwe and Solwezi to decentralize the rural electrification agenda.

The Decentralisation process mean REA offices will be open in Kasama for the northern circuit , Choma for the southern Circuit , Solwezi for the western region and Chongwe to include the eastern part of the country.

REA Board Chairperson Likonge Mulenga said this will make it easy for citizens to access REA services easily.

Mrs. Mulenga said that time has come for REA to expand its presence in the country and fulfill the rural electrification agenda.

Mrs. Mulenga said this in southern province where she launched the regional office in Choma.

And southern province minister Cornelius Mweetwa praised REA for the decentralization program it has embarked on.

Mr. Mweetwa said that the decentralization process is in line with governments commitment of ensuring services are taken closer to the people.

In Choma, Precious Chikuni who lives on the outskirts of the district said the presence of REA officers in the area will also motivate people to have their households and business connected to the national grid.

Meanwhile, Lusibilo Mweenda a shop keeper who is already connected to the national grid also expressed delight that REA opened offices in Choma.

Mweenda said that this will motivate people that are reluctant to connect to the national grid.

MEANWHILE in on of the newly opened Offices , REA handed over 27 bicycles valued at K100,000 to Kapete and Shiyala communities in Chongwe.

The bicycles are meant to empower the REA communities to undertake community mobilization and stakeholder management activities in project areas.

Locals here were excited because once launched, it will help implementing officers of REA projects conduct their work easy and efficient.

EARLIER this year, REA commissioned the over  K 7 million kwacha Kalungu/Sansamweje Grid Extension Project in Isoka Town, Muchinga Province.

The project is aimed at providing more opportunities for economic expansion of businesses and better service delivery for facilities that will be connected to the grid.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Sansamweje area of Isoka District , Minister of Energy Engineer Peter Kapala said the commissioning of the project is a representative of Government’s desire to empower rural communities with electricity infrastructure.

The minister further appealed to all authorities with facilities that have been connected to the national grid through the project to utilise the power for productive purposes.

Locals in the area where excited with the development.

Janet Makwa who plans to extend her Salon was excited with the development.

‘ I have a salon but I don’t have electricity so customers usually go to the boma to use power. This affected my business because I lost out on money but with the coming of this power, I will be able to exploit power for the expansion of my business “ She said.

And Katele Mwansa, who is a welder expressed gratitude for the commissioning of the project.

‘ way back, I would travel to Isoka boma to conduct my business , I have a lot of customers but I cannot satisfy them all because of no power. Now that this project has been launched, I will pay up and connect my business to power. I think I will make more money’.

It can be deduced that in 2022, REA not only focused on providing electricity to rural areas, But also taking services closer to the people, something that is core under the new dawn administration.

Way Back , people would travel long distances to access service delivery or add value to their  products but now , with rapid connection to rural areas, sustainable development is imminent.

A lot of work has to be done to meet to 2030 goal of connecting 51% of rural communities to the national grid.

Like Energy expert Johnstone Chikwanda would say, ‘ the acceleration of the rural electrification program can only be achieved through increased resources to the authority’.

By Angel Kasabo

Picture Credit; Rural Electrification Authority