Two officials from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, or RURA, visited the Idaho Public Utilities Commission the week of June 13.
Idaho is the first state to host an activity under a new partnership between the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, or NARUC, and RURA, with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development and Power Africa.
The partnership helps regulators from the United States and Rwanda, a nation of 11.7 million people, to share experience and best practices and to problem-solve about more effective regulation.
“Our objective is to support RURA’s efforts to improve its rate-setting practices so that Rwanda will be able to attract private investment in its power sector and, thus, increase access to electricity for its people,” said Matt Elam, who heads up the Idaho commission’s Technical Analysis Section.
Visiting from Rwanda were Aimee Nshimirimana, a business plan analysis officer in the Economic Regulation Unit and Alex Mudasingwa, a technical compliance and monitoring officer in RURA’s Electricity and Renewable Energy Unit.
Elam, who serves on NARUC’s Staff Subcommittee for International Relations, said Idaho was selected partly because its utilities get most of their generation from hydroelectric resources, as in Rwanda.
Only about 24 percent of Rwanda’s households are connected to the electrical grid. The nation’s leaders have set a goal of connecting 70 percent of households by the end of 2018. Rwandan regulators are looking for ways to devise rates that will phase out government subsidies to Rwanda’s only electric utility by the end of fiscal year 2017-18.