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State seeks new options as demand for power soars

By | June 23rd 2011

By James Anyanzwa

The energy sub-sector will require more than Sh400 billion worth of investment over the next five years to meet growing power demand in the country.

Energy minister, Kiraitu Murungi, said demand for electricity has been steadily increasing, prompted by accelerated connections of ordinary and industrial consumers.

Kiraitu said 800,000 new customers have been connected so far as part of the first medium term plan for Vision 2030, which envisages the connection of one million new customers between 2008 and 2012.

He said the demand will balloon in the next few years, as the Government prepares to increase the number of those connected to electricity from the current 29 per cent of the population, to 40 per cent by 2020, and connect all Kenyans by 2030.

Electricity demand has grown at an annual average rate of 5.3 per cent over the past five years, and is projected to accelerate to over 10 per cent per year due to the implementation of the Vision 2030 projects. "This has necessitated increased investments in new generation capacity," he said.

Funding gap

"We are happy that the Government has continuously allocated considerable resources to the development of the electricity sub sector, and also attracted investment from development partners to bridge the funding gap."

Kiraitu said power demand is projected to peak to 2,029 mega watts (MW) by 2016, and 15,000 MW by the year 2030. According to KPLC, the new sources of energy lie in the exploitation of geothermal power, coal, renewable energy sources, and connecting Kenya to energy-surplus countries in the region.

In the 2011/2012 Budget, Treasury allocated Sh15.6 billion towards the expansion of electricity transmission system, Sh16 billion towards geothermal development, and Sh5.6 billion for the rural electrification programmes.

" The Government aims to ensure supply of affordable electricity to all Kenyans," said Kiraitu.

According to the latest statistics from KPLC, the country’s installed power capacity stood at 1,599.9MW by May 2011, while available generation capacity of 1,359.2 MW. System peak demand stands at 1,191.03MW.

Kiraitu was speaking during the official launch of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC)’s new corporate identity and logo in Nairobi on Wednesday.

New look

KPLC adopted a new name and unveiled a fresh look in line with its strategic plan and Vision 2030. The power transmitter and distributing company rebranded to ‘Kenya Power’, and introduced a new logo.

The move is part of the company’s corporate culture change aimed at transforming the distribution network to render more reliable and responsive services to customers, and sustain its good financial performance.

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