Kenya Power to play key role in universal access to electricity

Written By: Beth Nyaga
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Kenya Power to play key role in universal access to electricity
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Kenya Power will play a critical role in the implementation of the GoK’s National Electrification Strategy that seeks to ensure universal access to electricity by 2022. 

The Company’s contribution will be in the areas of planning for expansion of the electricity grid, development and operation of large mini-grids, management of contractors responsible for operation and maintenance of small mini-grids and collection of levies from customers to finance electricity expansion Funds and subsidies.

The National Electrification Strategy was launched on Thursday by the Cabinet Secretary for Energy Hon. Charles Keter with a promise to address existing and emerging challenges that hinder access to electricity.

“Energy is an enabler of economic growth. As we proceed towards achievement of universal access to electricity by 2022, it was felt that we needed to have a new electrification strategy that addresses existing and emerging challenges. The Government, therefore, initiated a study which informed this strategy,” said Kenya Power’s Ag. Managing Director Eng. Jared Othieno.

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Some of the key challenges that have affected the realization of universal access to electricity include; high connection fees, lack of appropriate incentives to attract private investors, delays in obtaining way leaves consents, and demand for high compensation.

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Since 2013, Kenya Power has implemented GoK-driven national electrification programmes including the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA)- a World Bank-funded project that targeted to connect informal settlements in rural and urban areas to the grid.

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In addition, the Company is currently implementing the Last Mile Connectivity Project which was adopted by the Government in 2014 to reduce the cost connectivity for customers by extending the distribution network through funding from GoK and bilateral lenders.

The Company will also participate in implementation of the USD 150 million Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP) that seeks to electrify 14 underserved counties through mini-grids and standalone systems. Implementation of this project is expected to commence in financial year 2019/20.

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Eng. Othieno added that the new National Electrification Strategy will address challenges that have existed with implementation of these projects and emerging ones especially as the Company moves to ensure that Kenyans living in far-flung areas are connected to the main electricity grid and mini-grids.

“The customers we are targeting to connect as we aim to attain universal access by 2022 present different challenges compared to what we had earlier. The strategy is important as it will address these issues,” he said.

To achieve connection of the targeted customers, Kenya Power will maximize existing transformers, install new distribution transformers and extend the medium and low voltage network.

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