KPLC to ex­pand off-grid power in re­mote ar­eas

The World Bank and French De­vel­op­ment Agency have com­mit­ted Sh15.25 bil­lion each, says Kenya Power busi­ness strat­egy GM Peter Mun­gai

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business - CON­STANT MUNDA @Mun­daCon­stant

Kenya Power has re­ceived pledges of about Sh30.49 bil­lion ($300 mil­lion) from de­vel­op­ment part­ners for ex­pan­sion of off-grid elec­tric­ity sys­tems in far-flung ar­eas, the near mo­nop­oly elec­tric­ity dis­trib­u­tor said yes­ter­day.

The util­ity, owned 51 per cent by the state, said the plan is in line with the Ju­bilee ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tar­get of uni­ver­sal elec­tric­ity con­nec­tion by 2020.

The plan is to con­nect house­holds away from the na­tional power grid, es­pe­cially in the ex­pan­sive north­ern Kenya; to so­lar, wind, ther­mal or hy- brid (a mix­ture of the three) power sys­tems, the com­pany’s gen­eral man­ager for busi­ness strat­egy Peter Mun­gai said.

The World Bank and French De­vel­op­ment Agency have com­mit­ted $150 mil­lion (Sh15.25 bil­lion) each, Mun­gai said, adding that other part­ners in­clud­ing Ger­man De­vel­op­ment Agency were also on board.

“We are at a stage of putting to­gether the facts and from Jan­uary next year, the plan is that we start rolling out,” he said on the side­lines of an in­vestor brief­ing in Nairobi yes­ter­day. “We are at that point where we are wait­ing for the fund­ing to be tied up so that we can roll out and we will also be invit­ing pri­vate in­vestors to con­sider cer­tain ar­eas that they may want to in­vest in.”

The com­pany has, how­ever, cut its cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture this fi­nan­cial year by 16.67 per cent to Sh42 bil­lion from Sh50.4 bil­lion on slow down of net­work main­te­nance and up­grade works. “We ex­pect that as we in­crease con­nec­tiv­ity, we will as well in­crease the (net­work) ex­pan­sion. But the ex­pan­sion is not as high as the point where we were when we were ex­pand­ing the net­work, to­gether with main­tain­ing or re­fur­bish­ing the ex­ist­ing net­work in the last three years,” gen­eral man­ager for fi­nance Ken­neth Tarus said.

Kenya Power al­ready has off-grid sys­tems in ar­eas like Garissa, Man­dera and Lamu, but the new project will be tar­get­ing house­holds 50kms from the town cen­tres where the net­work is con­cen­trated.

/COUR­TESY

Kenya Power se­nior man­agers Ken Tarus (GM fi­nance), Eng KP Mun­gai (GM busi­ness strat­egy), and Joshua Mu­tua (GM cus­tomer ser­vice) dur­ing the in­vestors’ brief­ing held at the Stan­ley Ho­tel yes­ter­day

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