Senator Chute seeks probe into high cost of electricity

Marsabit Senator Mohamed Chute. [Courtesy: Parliament.go.ke]

Marsabit Senator Mohammed Chute will table a motion before the Senate seeking investigations into high electricity costs and the contracts signed by Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Chute said Kenyans were concerned that IPPs only supply 28 per cent of power to Kenya Power but account for 47 per cent of power purchase costs and called for proper energy management in Kenya.

Chute wants the Senate Energy committee to conduct an inquiry into contracts signed by IPPs detailing the cost, capacity and duration of contractual agreements and their implications on the affordability of electricity in the country.

“I am calling for an investigation on the discrepancy in the cost of electricity sold to Kenya Power by Kenya Electricity Generation Company, imports from Ethiopia and Independent Power Producers,” he said.

The senator is also seeking investigations into the diversion of electricity generated by Lake Turkana Wind Power to the national grid saying that Marsabit and Samburu counties are inadequately supplied.

He wants the Ministry of Energy to come up with a policy framework aimed at lowering the cost of electricity to address the high cost of living and enhance the use of clean energy.

Chute said this can be done by switching to renewable sources of energy such as geothermal power, and wind energy, among others in efforts to reduce the carbon footprint in the country.

“Energy is an essential factor of production and its total consumption is a major determinant of the performance of the economy with its cost and reliability spurring or stifling economic growth,” he said.

The senator noted that there has been significant growth in the demand for electricity in Kenya driven by economic growth, rural electrification and reinforcement of the transmission and distribution grids.

Chute said the supply of electricity has been constrained majorly due to over-reliance on hydroelectric power generating plants that have been negatively impacted by perennial drought in the country.

The senator noted that an imbalance in the demand and supply of power coupled with payments by KPLC for produced power not consumed and fluctuation in the foreign exchange rates contribute to the high cost of electricity.

“We appreciate that Kenya has made strides in diversifying its power sources with geothermal plants, offering tremendous potential for the zero-carbon source of power, already producing nearly one Gigawatt of power,” he said.  

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