Conventional grid electricity is Rural Electrification Fund’s major flagship which the Fund has been rolling out in all the rural areas of Zimbabwe since its formation in 2002 through an Act of Parliament. Beneficiaries of the grid electricity include public institutions (schools, clinics, government extension offices in rural areas such as District Development Fund offices, Veterinary Services, ZRP stations), homesteads, farms, business centres and irrigation schemes among others.
How public institutions benefit
Public Institutions such as primary schools, secondary schools, rural health centres, veterinary services offices, Agritex offices, Chief’s homesteads, police posts and bases, District Development Fund workshops/offices and all government extension offices in rural areas are electrified under a 100 percent capital subsidy. The beneficiaries of the electrified institutions are required to raise money for internal wiring and connection fees paid to ZETDC. At schools and rural health centres, REF connects the schools administration blocks and a laboratories/computer rooms as well as the Out Patients Department and wards at clinics. For teachers and nurses houses, institutions are required to make own contributions for internal wiring of their houses and connection fees paid to ZETDC.
- All public institutions in rural areas of Zimbabwe qualify for electrification.
- As all institutions cannot be electrified at once the following factors Rural Energy Master Plan (REMP), stakeholders’ inputs and distance from the existing grid are used to determine institutions that are electrified first.
- Institutions that require to have their institutions electrified first can offer to contribute 50% towards the cost of electrifying their institutions.
- The institution will be included in the rollout programme for that budget year.
Community Driven Projects
The Rural Electrification Fund encourages rural communities to electrify their homesteads so that they improve their way of living. Unlike public institutions, villagers pay for the electrification of their homesteads. REF encourages villagers to form groups of a minimum of 10 households and above to benefit from a subsidy currently pegged at 50 percent. Those who do not want to join group schemes pay 60 percent of the total cost of the project. All those in group schemes are given a three year payment period.
Rural Business centres / Rural Service Centres
REF has made a deliberate policy to ensure that every line being built in the rural areas to public institutions pass through a business centre to allow easy connectivity by the businessmen. REF constructs LT lines and mounts a transformer. The businessmen raise their own cash for internal wiring and connection fees which will be paid to ZETDC.
Large And Small Scale Farmers
Since government values agriculture as the backbone of the economy, the REF Board has seen it wise to offer a 50 percent capital subsidy to all farmers who need electricity. The farmers meet costs of internal wiring of their structures and connection fees.
Electricity is provided at 100 percent capital subsidy on community irrigation schemes. The irrigation farmers are expected to buy their own irrigation equipment and engage ZETDC for connections. These should be Government initiated schemes.
Mini grid solar systems
Institutions which are far away from the existing grid network which are unlikely to benefit from the conventional grid electricity in the foreseeable future benefit from the mini grid solar system.
The mini grid solar systems are restricted to public institutions such as schools and clinics. At a school, the mini grid solar system provides energy to teachers’ houses and classroom blocks while at a clinic, the mini grid solar system powers nurses’ houses, the clinic and the refrigerator for medicines. Installations are 100 percent funded by REF. Beneficiary schools and clinics are required to conduct simple maintenance of the solar systems and only approach REF in the event of major breakdowns.
National Statistics On The Electrification Status Of Rural Institutions As At 31 March 2021
Total Electrified to Date – 1788