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Kenyans to pay higher bills for electricity

BUSINESS
By Macharia Kamau | June 19th 2021

The thermal plants use heavy fuel to generate power. [Courtesy]

Kenyans are set to pay more for electricity this month as the country increases reliance on costly thermal power producers following poor rains over the March to May season.

The poor rainfall resulted in a drop in amount of hydroelectricity generated, which is priced much lower than that from thermal plants.

The thermal plants use heavy fuel to generate power and in addition to the standard cost of energy paid to the producers, the cost of acquiring the fuel is passed to consumers.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) yesterday increased the fuel cost charge component of the power bill to Sh3.63 per unit, the highest since August 2019.

This is a 24 per cent increase from Sh2.92 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in May.

“Notice is given that all prices for electrical energy… will be liable to a fuel energy cost charge of plus 363 cents per kilowatt-hour for all meter readings to be taken in June 2021,” said Epra in a public notice.

Inadequate rain

While the country experienced heavy rains between March and May this year, the Meteorological Department said it was not enough. Rains in March were depressed while April and May reported below average.

“The distribution, both in time and space, has been generally poor over most parts of the country. The month of March saw depressed rainfall over the whole country,” the department said in a May 31 report.

In April and May 2021, several parts of the country received below average rainfall, it said.

“An assessment of the rainfall recorded from March1 to May 25, 2021 indicates that the rainfall performance was near average to below average over most parts of the country.”

Epra also increased the foreign exchange component to 76 cents per unit from 67 units in May – also a pass -through cost that is aimed at cushioning the power industry from the volatility of the Kenya shilling against major world currencies. 

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