New connections to the Kenya Power grid will now cost Sh15,000 — down from the Sh35,000 charged until last year — and will be payable in installments through their bills.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the new connection fee Wednesday during a ceremony to launch the utility firm’s Sh34 billion ‘Last Mile’ project, which seeks to connect more than 300,000 new customers, as well as the National Schools Electrification Project.
The President said the decision to reduce the installation charge is aimed at allowing more Kenyans to access electricity.
The Government’s plan is to have at least 70 per cent of Kenyan households connected to electricity by 2017.
“We have asked Kenya Power to allow those who cannot pay at once to be connected and they can pay the tariff in instalments through their bills,” said the President.
Ben Chumo, Kenya Power’s managing director, had earlier this month said applicants to the project will see the cost recovered through their monthly bills over three to five years.
Kenya Power had been charging a standard Sh35,000 connection fee for a single-phase line but has been asking some customers to pay a market price of about Sh70,000 for every pole used in connection.
Besides the fee, customers are also expected to have wired their homes or buildings before they are connected, a requirement that adds to the overall cost.
Kenya Power said deployment of new, cheaper technology dubbed Single Wire Earth Return in the Last Mile project promises customers lower connection charges.
Whereas Kenyans used to make applications with long procedures in the past, now Kenya Power and the Rural Electrification Authority will come knocking on doors asking Kenyans to allow them to connect their households.
The agencies will ensure that all households near electricity transformers are connected to power whether the owners have made applications or not.
To increase connectivity, when a resident of a certain area makes a request to be connected, that single application will serve as a basis to install electricity in all neighbouring homes.
The Ministry of Energy will enable households that do not have internal wiring in their houses to use electricity by providing a ‘ready board’ with switches, sockets and bulb holders.
The plan also includes increasing the number of installed transformers countrywide and ensuring all households near every transformer are connected.
On the school’s electrification project, President Kenyatta said all schools in the country will be connected to electricity by next year.
All the 84 primary schools in Matungulu Constituency, where the project was kicked off today, have been connected to electricity and for the first time rural families have got access to electricity.
Deputy President William Ruto said the Government’s plan is to connect one million new customers to electricity each year.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said the ministry has already come up with digital content for primary schools.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua said the initiative by the Jubilee administration to undertake the massive power plans was transformative.
“Wherever there is electricity there is development,” he said.
The Governor his county government will allocated Sh300 million to buy transformers in the next budget and will work closely with the National Government to install them to increase the number of connected households.
The event was also addressed by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and MPs from the region and several from the Coast.