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Energy CS Keter puts license holders on notice

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By Roselyne Obala | December 23rd 2015

Investors holding licenses for oil blocks, wind, geothermal, coal and solar without any ongoing activities risk losing them, warns new Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary (CS) Charles Keter.

Keter also put on notice corrupt individuals under his watch that he will not spare anyone in dealing with the vice.

Further he pledged to work closely with his new team, including the Principal Secretaries Joseph Njoroge (Energy) and Andrew Kamau (Petroleum) to fast-track projects under the ministry, as well as Jubilee administration's flagship project- the 5, 000+ MW into the national grid.

Of particular interest to the CS is reduction of power costs to make Kenya an industrial viable nation, which he maintained can only be achieved with investments on cheap power plants, increased generation of power and establishment of demand to ensure surplus is exported to other regional countries.

Without disclosing the number of licenses issued so far, Keter talked tough on unused licenses, saying 'It will not be business as usual.'

"Licenses without activities will not be spared. I am issuing a warning in advance, we want to give Kenyans cheap power and this cannot be achieved when people apply for licenses only to act as middlemen. We must harvest fruits of power generation," Keter warned.

The former Kericho Senator who spoke after taking over office from the acting CS Henry Rotich at Nyayo House yesterday, promised to read the handover notes by the latter and issue appropriate directive in January next year.

"Presently I do not have the exact number of the licenses but I can assure the public, I will give a comprehensive response on this matter," he stated.

He continued, "A lot of issues have been raised on perceived corruption in this docket but I can guarantee, there is going to be transparency and openness under my watch. I will not shy away from taking responsibility. The ministry officials and the Parastatals must toe the line; there is no time to waste."

He stressed that Kenyans need result as my assured by the Jubilee government.

"Personally, I believe in deliverables. We must invest on infrastructure and the licenses and contracts signed must be realised within the set timelines. The power plants must be in place as per the agreed period," he said.

He assured of the 5, 000+ MW of power to the national grid will be achieve, noting that wind, solar and coal generation of power is on course.

"We will be working on the transmission lines and this will be fast tracked. We want sustainable quality power. We want this to be achieved in the shortest time possible. Our demand now is 1500 MW and 700 projected from the power plants," he noted.

He stated, "We want to increase connectivity. More customers and investors coming in the line will boost the country's economy."

He stated that the expansion of the pipeline route from Nairobi to Mombasa and Kisumu to Busia is also underway to ensure adequate supply of fuel.

Also the Kenya Petroleum Refinery Limited (KPRL) is Mombasa is obsolete and not functioning, therefore raising the cost of fuel, which the country imports presently.

"This will be fast-tracked either through negotiations with private investors. We are importing all fuel and we have no refinery. The one in Mombasa is obsolete.

Rotich affirmed at under the stewardship of Keter, more power will be converted to the national grid.

"We have embarked on power distribution across the country, including the launch of Lake Turkana wind power expected to generate 300Mega Watts to the grid. I believe the CS's in-tray is full, as he takes over.

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