By Ronald Owili
The Rural Electrification Authority connected at least 174,000 households in the year to July 2015, representing a 33 percent increase.
The total installed electricity capacity rose 6.3 percent to 2,333 megawatts while demand for electricity hit 7.8 billion kilowatt hour.
This is according to the latest economic survey report that also indicates that lower fuel prices helped Kenya reduce her import bill on petroleum products by 32.6 percent.
Fuel prices have been reducing since hitting a high of 127 dollars in March 2012.
The country paid on average 52 dollars and 53 cents for a barrel of crude oil last year, down from a mean of 99 dollars and 45 cents the previous year.
Last year’s figure is more than half the 112 dollars and 97 cents that Kenya paid on average per barrel to import crude oil.
This helped the country immensely reduce her import bill for petroleum products by 32.6 percent from 335.7 billion shillings in 2014, to 226.1 billion shillings in last year which has also eased pressure on local currency.
Currently, crude oil prices average 42 dollars a barrel.
On electricity, the latest economic survey report indicates that the installed capacity rose 8 percent to 2,263 megawatts as at December 2015.
This comprises 799.5 megawatts from hydro, 797.1 megawatts is thermal, 619 megawatts is geothermal, 26.1 megawatts is wind while 21.5 megawatts is co-generation.
Kenya imported 58.8 million kilowatt hours of power from Uganda and Tanzania and also exported 46.7 million kilowatt hours of power to the two neighboring countries.
According to the latest economic survey report, at least 1.6 billion kilowatts hours of power was lost to transmission and distributive losses.
Total domestic demand for electricity increased by 57.8 GWh in 2015 from 7,768.6GWh in 2014 with large and medium commercial and industrial consumers accounting for 42.2 per cent of total electricity demand.
Kenyans in rural areas which make up the largest citizens not connected to the national grid have felt the effect of more generation as the number of those connected under the rural electrification program jumped 33% to stand at 703,190 customers.
As of December last year, 21,487 public primary schools were connected in readiness for the laptop project, of which 17,809 schools were on grid and 3,678 off-grid through solar.
In addition, 490 public facilities were also connected to the national grid.