Energy PS hopeful promises to lower cost of electricity

Energy nominee Alex Wachira during his vetting at County Hall, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Stanard]

Energy Principal Secretary nominee Alex Wachira has promised to lower cost of power if his nomination is approved by the National Assembly.

Mr Wachira said he will deal with "rogue" independent power providers whom he blamed for a surge in the cost of electricity and being a hindrance to international companies setting up shop in the country.

Wednesday, the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Energy pressed the nominee to explain his plan to reform the sector.

Wachira also attributed high cost of power to over-reliance on thermal energy. He promised to terminate thermal plants such as Muhoroni gas factory and others in Nairobi.

He said the most expensive thermal plant to operate was Muhoroni, a 60 megawatts factory, which runs on 300,000 litres of kerosene daily.

“I plan to retire Muhoroni power plant with immediate effect as a short-term measure. But to retire the Muhoroni gas plant we have to evacuate as much power as possible from Olkaria geothermal power plant, which will then be supplied to western Kenya,” he said.

Wachira promised that a powerline from Olkaria to Narok and Bomet would be fast-tracked to ensure southern Nyanza region accesses clean and affordable power.

To end incessant power problem in Nairobi, he said the remedy is to retire thermal plants in Athi River and the city outskirts.

“The Isinya to Athi River and Embakasi powerline has already been done by Ketraco and all that remains are sub-stations. We have to evacuate as much power from Isinya power plant to ensure southern parts of Nairobi access cheaper power,” Wachira told the committee.

The committee asked Wachira how he would deal with corruption, illegal power connections and illegal privatisation of State entities.

“The Public Finance Management Act is clear on processes of tendering and so is the Asset and Requisition Act. I intend on relying on these laws when issuing and recalling tenders,” he said.