Update on ELKAP (DR Congo)

Almost three years have passed since the inauguration of the hydro-energy power plant built in Kapanga by the Salvatorians. ELKAP – ELectricity for KAPanga currently provides electricity to 170 customers including social and commercial entities, among them schools, clinics, the municipality, small business and private households.

The plant can potentially serve 400 customers. ELKAP signed important supplying contracts with key local economic actors such for example the telecommunication company “VODACOM”. It connected the Salvatorian Sisters’ hospital in Ntita and the Methodist’s hospital, SAMUTEB, in Musumba. In August 2017, a new pumping system project has also been connected to the grid. This project allows to serve the whole population of Musumba with clean water, avoiding people to do a great effort transporting water from impressive distances.

SOFIA Global is currently carrying out a 3-year empowerment project with the support of the Irish organization Misean Cara. Started in 2016, it is having a great impact on ELKAP’s operations and in its effort to reach sustainability. In general, the service provided to customers is appreciated and ELKAP is known also in villages and small cities far from the territory. DR Congo is facing an energy crisis and in the major cities such as Lubumbashi and Kinshasa, the customers of the main electricity provider, SNEL, face many blackouts during the week.

Today Kapanga can get advantages from a reliable and clean electricity provider. The current stable service required great effort of all ELKAP’s team, which faced many technical problems in the first two years of operation. In order to reach financial sustainability, ELKAP introduced a new payment method optimizing the selling of the electricity. The new payment method will be based on consumption, pushing the customers to a more efficient way of consuming electricity and allowing ELKAP to sign new contracts having some power capacity available. In fact, this new system will decrease the wasting of power, increase efficiency and simplify the administration. Most of the customers are teachers, policemen, farmers having a salary of approximately $100 per month. Many of them have not been paid since

many months due to economic crisis. So they are facing problems in paying the bills. The new pre-paid meters will help them in using the electricity only when they can afford it. Another key issue to reach the sustainability of ELKAP is to consolidate and improve the managing procedures of the legal entity governing ELKAP, adopting international best management practices.

At the end of this period of activities supported by Misean Cara, ELKAP will be able to manage the power provision service in a much better way. The local community will be aware of, and have better access to improved community services - such as hospitals, schools, mills, with significant improvements in health and education. In addition, the local income will increase through the strengthening and creation of small informal businesses. In this context, ELKAP organized some internal and external training activities in February 2018.