The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has awarded five companies contracts to connect more homes to the national power grid.
The $63.465 million (Sh6.4 billion) project is financed partly by the Government. The State injected Sh1.6 billion into the project while international financiers — Arab Bank for Development, Saudi Fund for Development and OPEC Fund for Development — will contribute the remainder.
The project is divided into five lots covering Nyanza/Western, North Rift, South Rift, Mt Kenya/Upper Eastern and Lower Eastern/Coast regions.
During the official contract signing ceremony yesterday, REA chairman Simon Gicharu revealed that the projects would extend electricity to 591 public facilities covering 35,460 households in the five regions. REA awarded Lomas & Lomas the contract for the supply and installation of power lines and associated transformers in the Nyanza/Western region.
Chinese firm Sinotec won the contract to connect power lines in the North Rift region while Fountain Technologies will cover South Rift. Magnate Ventures will handle Mt Kenya/Upper Eastern while Eswari Electricals Ltd (a joint venture with Wayne Homes) will supply and install 33kv, 11kv lines, transformers and low voltage networks in the lower Eastern and Coast regions. The parastatal also picked Aberdare Engineering as supervising consultants for the project.
“This will create more than 2,000 jobs in the country apart from the indirect jobs for service providers such as transporters,” Dr Gicharu said. He directed the contractors to employ the youth in the regions of their operation to avoid conflict with residents.
Dr Gicharu warned contractors on the use of substandard materials. “There have been accusations of contractors using sub-standard materials. REA will not tolerate this,” Gicharu warned, while calling on them to complete the projects within the stipulated time frame of two years. “This is one of the key projects that we want to see implemented during our term in office,” he added.
During the event, Gicharu revealed that REA’s focus in 2013/14 to 2015/16 has been electrification of 23,375 public primary schools, most of which have been connected except 233 newly-identified schools that will be connected this month.
He said the level of electrification of public facilities has increased from 25 per cent in 2008 to 68 per cent currently.
“On Monday we will issue a public notice for Kenyans to report any public primary schools that have not been connected,” Gicharu said. REA has also connected about 3,537 primary schools with solar.
The electrification of all public schools has been one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s main projects as his first term nears its end.
The administration has been lauded for the manner in which it has made it easier for Kenyans to access electricity.
Last year, electricity supply recorded an accelerated growth of 9.7 per cent compared to a growth of 7.3 per cent in 2014.