Power firm wire trick lights up villages

Single Wire Earth Return technology. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

Kenya Power has adopted a New Zealand technology to take electricity to remote areas at half-the average cost.

The Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) technology uses a single power cable to reach more residents in remote parts of the country and was credited with boosting rural electrification in New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the US.

The technology is also more vandal-proof.

Speaking at Karaba village in Kigumo, Kenya Power's Murang’a County Manager Harrison Kamau said the technology has been deployed to help light up more rural households in the next two years.

“In two villages in Gachocho location, 115 households have been connected in a very short period,” said Mr Kamau.

The electrification of Gacocho cost Sh12 million using SWER technology. It would have cost Sh21 million using a conventional grid.

Keeps thieves away 

Apart from low cost, the technology is more secure from vandalism as it uses fewer transformers and exposes vandals to a higher risk of electrocution.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.

According to Kamau, vandalism has been a major challenge to lighting up more rural homes, costing the power distribution firm millions of shillings in losses.

He said the Government has allocated Sh2 billion to distribute electricity in Murang'a County.

“In Murang’a, electricity connections stand at 51.48 per cent, up from 20 per cent in 2013.
The connection translates to 150,863 up from 129,156 registered last year,” he said.

Kigumo Constituency alone accounts for 16,738 connections, with 11,714 consumers connected between 2013 and 2019.

During a public forum, the residents decried losing thousands of shillings to fraudsters who promise to connect them to the power grid.

The fraudsters, who residents said to purport to be from KP, later return to cart away power poles delivered earlier, saying they had been stolen.

Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.

Single Wire Earth ReturnKenya PowerElectricityKPLC