In 2017, only 40% of the Togolese population had access to electricity, with rural areas often as low as 8%. Many disadvantaged rural households were using candles, battery torches and kerosene lamps for lighting.
To meet this challenge, they created the Togolese Electrification and Renewable Energy Agency, AT2ER, a government body with the task of ensuring that all of Togo had access to electricity. This was to be achieved with a combination of electricity grid expansion, rural mini-grids and solar home systems. By offering a combination of routes to energy, AT2ER were able to overcome some of the regional and access changes faced by the rural population.
“the project, which is aimed at the rural population, is addressing the development inequality between the urban and rural areas. The project mechanism promotes inclusion so as to leave no one behind.”
AT2ER didn’t stop there, when in 2018 they reviewed their progress (only and increase to 45% energy access), they could see that disadvantaged rural households were struggling to afford the solar home systems. AT2ER commissioned two in-depth surveys to explore the reasons behind the lack of take up, and discussed that a subsidy was needed to support the poorest households. In March 2019 they launched the Cizo Project, which offers a subsidy to households therefore giving them the much needed helping hand to access clean energy through their own solar home system. Payments are made through mobile banking, with the subsidy being applied directly to the payment amount.
In partnership with five distributed energy service companies, they are now rolling out the Cizo Project across the country. They have also trained 3,000 local people to be energy technicians and another 3,000 people can mobile banking agents.
What’s the impact on customers/beneficiaries?
Households in rural Togo are now able to access clean energy at an affordable rate, allowing them to have lighting at night, to charge mobile phones, and run small businesses. AT2ER expect many households will go on to upgrade their solar home system within a couple of years, giving them access to televisions and other electrical equipment. Rural households say that the access to energy has enabled their children to study at night, as well as the added bonus of no longer having as many snakes coming into their homes!