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
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.
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