Idaho PUC hosts Rwandan energy leaders as part of USAID initiative

Published on June 22, 2016 by Jessica Limardo

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced on Friday that two officials from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) will shadow and collaborate with staff for the week to improve the grid and energy operations in Rwanda.

The initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power Africa, RURA and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Idaho is the first state to host an activity put on through the initiative.

“This has been a valuable experience for everyone,” PUC President Paul Kjellander said. “Our staff has learned a great deal from Alex and Aimee and we hope we have been as much help to them.”

Idaho was chosen in part because its resource portfolio closely matches that of Rwanda. Both regions source electricity primarily from hydroelectric sources. Idaho’s regulatory processes are stable, and a good example of how Rwandan energy leaders can best set rates, encourage private investment and expand its customer base using such investments.

Approximately 24 percent of Rwandan households are connected to the electrical grid, and RURA has a goal of increasing that percentage to 70 percent by the end of 2018. RURA increased generating capacity from 46 megawatts in 2004 to 190 MW and expects to support a generating capacity of 563 MW by the end of 2018, which would support approximately 70 percent of the Rwandan population.