Kenyan Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) says it will this month permanently pull the plug on UK Aggreko’s emergency power supply as it starts operating its gas-powered plant in Muhoroni, Kisumu.
Managing director Albert Mugo said the company would not be seeking to extend Aggreko’s contract to stabilise power in the western region.
“We have just completed the project we had there, that is 30 megawatts of a gas turbine which is replacing Aggreko,” he said during the listing of the company’s new shares on Wednesday.
Mr Mugo said KenGen had tested the gas turbine which it had fully loaded and would this week conduct a reliability test for about three days.
“As soon as we complete we should be able to say the 30 megawatts Aggreko can now be retired, we will not be seeking an extension,” he said.
The company has twice sought an extension from the Energy Regulatory Commission to continue feeding the national grid with Aggreko’s costly emergency power due to delays in setting up a replacement plant.
KenGen had reported vibrations during the testing of gas turbine and asked for one month to sort out the issue.
KenGen, which is spending $4.3 million (Sh430 million) to move and install the 30-megawatt thermal generator to Muhoroni from Embakasi in Nairobi, first sought an extension in May blaming logistics hitches and heavy rains for the delay.
Emergency power is priced as high as ¢50 per kilowatt-hour, which is more than double the cost of thermal electricity set at ¢20 per kWh.
Mr Mugo said the costly power had been necessary to cater for the network issues in western Kenya.
“The 30 megawatts of Aggreko was taken to western Kenya because of the network problems we had there and it has been supporting that network,” he said.
The move ends the contract sealed in 2012 to help plug a shortfall in power output that had left consumers facing lengthy hours of outages with increasing cases of unreliable rainfall due to climate change and breakdown of machinery at the hydro power plants.
The country has often been forced to take on thermal power sources to compensate for shortfalls in hydro-power output.