CATHERINE MUMBA, Chipata
THE Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has electrified 166 grass thatched houses under the Luangeni Intensification Grid Extension Project at a cost of over K1.2 million in Chipata district in Eastern Province.
The project, which involves electricity supply to Luangeni village and some public and private institutions in Paramount Chief Mpezeni’s chiefdom was implemented under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between REA and Zesco Limited.
Speaking during a site visit in Chipata on Thursday, REA board chairperson Jorry Mwenechanya said the project is aimed at providing appropriate technological services needed in grass thatched houses, and is targeting 364 dwellings.
Professor Mwenechanya said electricity supply is done in such a way that every dwelling has a rechargeable prepaid meter which is rechargeable through Zesco and safety is guaranteed by insulating the cables.
“If we had a little more funding, we could extend this project to other places because its multiplying effect is quite high,” he said.
Eastern province deputy permanent secretary Patrick Mwanawasa said the project will motivate investors to set up their businesses in rural areas, thereby facilitating employment creation for the local people.
Mr Mwanawasa was speaking when Prof Mwenechanya paid a courtesy call on him.
“This will also mitigate the challenge of rural-urban migration. We are happy that you are walking the talk as REA and providing energy sources to our rural dwellers,” Mr Mwanawasa said.
And Paramount Chief Mpezeni said electrifying grass thatched houses in rural areas is a development that will improve people’s lives.
Chief Mpezeni thanked REA for its good works and urged it to continue bettering the lives of people living in rural areas.
The supply of electricity to the area is expected to boost the existing economic activities currently taking place on a micro scale such as agriculture, retail, trading, beverage trading, maize milling and cooking oil processing.