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Burundi is considered to be one of the poorest countries in the world and only 1% of the country’s population is able to have access to electricity. 90% of Burundi’s energy sources come from wood, charcoal and peat. Most rural areas are completely without electricity, which leaves them in darkness at night and unable to engage in income-generating activities that require power. Bujumbura and Gitega are the only two cities in Burundi that have municipal electricity service.

Burundi's total installed capacity was 49 MW in 2001. Two dams completed since 1984 have increased the amount of power production from hydroelectric installations. In 2001, estimated production of electricity totaled 155 GWh, of which 154 GWh was from hydroelectric sources, with geothermal and thermal sources accounting for the rest. Consumption in 2001 was estimated at 170 GWh.

There is additionally an installed capacity of thermal power of 5.5 MW which has been put in place in 1996 for auxiliary supply services of Bujumbura. There are currently 27 small hydropower plants of up to 1 MW that are operational with a total capacity of 2.93 MW.

The country’s electrical power sector is traditionally state owned. Structural adjustment and privatization for the power sector was initially commenced in 1989, but civil and political conflict has curtailed the process.

The country is currently focusing on rehabilitating existing power plants and transmission lines for the national 110 kV high voltage grid and is hoping to build two new hydropower plants, to maximize the country’s power supply for the near future.

Burundi Electricity Utilities

Electricity generation and supply in Burundi is managed and administered by two primary organizations:

  • Régie de Production et Distribution d’Eau et d’Electricité (Regideso): operates and controls all of Burundi's thermal power stations, and is also responsible for power distribution in urban areas, the majority of which are located in the country's capital Bujumbura and the surrounding areas, and a small amount of hydro capacity (in the form of small units in rural areas).
  • Société Internationale des Pays des Grand Lacs (Sinelac): is responsible for developing international electricity projects, which include the 28 MW Rusizi hydro plant situated in Burundi. Sinelac has initiated several other hydro projects which are presently under construction.

Key Figures

  • Electricity Produced: 92 million KWh (2007)
  • Electricity Consumed: 125.6 million KWh (2007)
  • Electricity Exported: 0 KWh (2008)
  • Electricity Imported: 40 million KWh (2008)

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