Kenya Seeks Cheaper Electricity, Broader Coverage

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter says Kenya’s power generation has reached unprecedented levels. But despite global experts saying the country, as developing, has a surplus of power; it is looking to raise its power production to make the prices more competitive.

The country has constructed and upgraded 81 power substations in the last three years to boost the availability of electricity with the customer base expanding from 2.2 million households in March 2013 to 4.9 million households by June 2016.

A total of 22, 245 primary schools have been connected to power with 18, 074 on grid and the rest on solar.

The street-lighting program has seen the lighting of 35 towns and urban centres in 27 counties since 2013. Upon completion, the program will benefit 65 towns and urban centres across the country.

Kenya’s electricity is also set to become even cheaper as the country moves away from thermal power production.

On another move to cut power costs and increase the countrywide coverage beyond the current 56 per cent, President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered a review of all independent power producer (IPP) contracts.

Energy

The private sector partnership has widened access but Kenyatta said IPP contracts should be based on performance to ensure affordable access by the public.

“As we go forward, yes, we want to encourage private sector participation in power generation but it must be done in a transparent manner to ensure Kenyans get maximum benefit. The arrangements that are not cost-effective to the Kenyan people must be terminated- in a legal way- in the shortest time possible,” he added.

Kenyatta also warned power producers and manufacturers against transferring their inefficiencies to consumers saying Kenyans had a right to benefit from initiatives aimed at reducing the cost of power in the country.

“Why should the prices of basic commodities continue to rise while the cost of power has significantly reduced?” he asked.

The country is working with the World Bank to expand off-grid power to access areas not served by the national grid.

President Kenyatta noted that increased power access will stimulate commercial activity, boost economic growth and create jobs across the country.

Kenya’s electricity coverage has increased from 27 per cent in 2013 and the country is confident of achieving a 70 per cent access rate by June 2017 and universal access by 2020.

Kenyatta and Keter were speaking at the State House Energy Summit which brought together energy stakeholders- heavy power consumers, small-scale consumers and independent power producers- with senior government officials, ordinary Kenyan citizens and the media.

Source: Footprint to Africa

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