Got Questions About Econet’s Rural Electrification Program, Ugesi Energy? Here Are Some Answers

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So now that Ugesi Energy is official, you may have some burning questions that were not detailed in the announcements of the initiative. Here are some of the answers to the questions you may have.

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Q: How is Ugesi related to Econet?

A: Ugesi is a Pan African company within the Econet Energy Group, along with DPA Solar that focuses on Commercial & Industrial customers. Ugesi Solar focuses on powering communities, both for business and residential use.

Q: How are the rural communities benefiting from Ugesi?

A: Ugesi envisages rural communities embarking on sustainable socio-economic transformation through access to clean, affordable and reliable electricity.

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  • In key economic sectors such as agriculture, small scale commercial & industrial applications as well as in light scale manufacturing and entrepreneurial innovations.
  • In increased uptake of digital products and services like the mobile banking platform, health, education etc.
  • In youth employment, empowerment of the girl child and women thus improving their standard of living.

Q: How is a rural person with low/No income expected to pay?

A: In addition to providing electricity, Ugesi’s vision is to also provide support to economic activities in targeted communities through initiatives such as chicken and tomato out-grower schemes withstanding local and foreign off-taker agreements, which initiatives guarantee ready markets.

The out grower and entrepreneurial initiatives increase both the livelihood and disposable income of the community.

Ugesi power will be accessed through prepaid metres, with the purchase of prepaid electricity tokens made available using digital payment platforms such as Ecocash. The tokens are also available in our local walk-in retail shops.

Q: How much will an average household be expected to pay?

A: The average household will pay a minimum monthly bundle of $6 depending on usage.

Q: Do I have to pay a deposit towards connection?

A: No deposit or upfront payment towards connection is required for any consumer to be connected to any of the Ugesi power solution.

Q: Is the government supporting this initiative?

A: This initiative is supportive of the government initiatives to:

  1. Improve access to clean, affordable sustainable energy
  2. Create & support entrepreneurial ventures
  3. Uplift the livelihood of rural communities
  4. Improved access to digital tools such as ICT
  5. Usher 4th generation industrial revolutions

Q: Is Ugesi not seen as competition with ZETDC and REA?

A: On the contrary, the Ugesi initiative is complementing both ZETDC and REA efforts and will go a long way reducing pressure on public finance especially in areas additional electricity infrastructure investments.

Q: What is a mini-grid?

A: Mini grids are small-scale electricity generation systems (10 kW to 10MW) which serve a limited number of consumers via a distribution grid that can operate in isolation from national electricity transmission networks.

Q: What does the power supply sustain per household or business?

A: Consumers will be able to power electrical equipment for both business production and residential use

Q: How many communities are you rolling this out to?

A: This year alone, we have a target of 100 communities distributed across the 10 provinces of the country.

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