Burundi Faces 8-Megawatt Power Deficit After Rainfall Shortage

Burundi is facing a shortfall of nearly a fifth of its electricity demand because of a shortage of rainwater to run hydropower dams, the East African nation’s power and water distribution company Regideso said.

The neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo has cut exports to Burundi by 3 megawatts, and a local water shortage means Burundi’s own production will be diminished by 5 megawatts, Regideso spokesman Augustin Baruvuza told reporters today in Bujumbura, the capital.

As a result, rationing will start from tomorrow with certain areas receiving electricity from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and others from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. Only public facilities like hospitals, universities and airports will have power after 10 p.m., he said.

Burundi produces 32 megawatts and imports the remaining 15 megawatts from neighboring countries, mainly Congo. The government is in talks with India, Israel, Norway and China to develop its power industry and triple consumption with 13 years. Burundi’s electrification rate is 2.5 percent to 3 percent of its population of 8 million, Baruvuza said.

Burundi, Congo and Rwanda plan to build the 145-megawatt Ruzizi III dam along their common borders, although none has the money to start the construction, Baruvuza said.