Safaricom now invites bids for Kenya Power smart anti-theft system


Safaricom PLC headquarters in Westlands, Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has invited bids for firms to install anti-theft systems and smart electricity meters for Kenya Power’s #ticker:KPLC consumers in a deal aimed at curbing power theft and leakages and fixing weaknesses on the utility firm’s transmission network.

The telco has asked firms to tender for the provision of the high-tech systems.

This is part of a Sh31 billion intelligent system that will connect 330,300 electricity meters to a central location and track electricity use, power outages and load on transformers as well as read meters remotely.

“The primary objective of this Expression of Interest is to identify reputable and qualified vendors who will provide a transformer vandalism monitoring system to prevent cases of transformer vandalism by detecting, alerting and prompting response,” said Safaricom in internal documents seen by Business Daily.

The vandalising of electricity distribution equipment is among the leading causes of power outages, undermining the quality of power supply to customers and contributing to reduced productivity in industries.

The Safaricom-backed system is expected to help Kenya Power bring down the share of electricity bought from generators such as KenGen that does not reach home and businesses, technically known as system losses, from 23.93 percent to eight percent, earning Kenya Power additional revenues of Sh71 billion in eight years.

Safaricom said the high-tech system will able to give the location of a transformer on demand and send alerts if the transformer is being moved from its current location.

“It should be able to detect proximity movement for prolonged duration next to the transformer as well as any climbing of the pole,” said Safaricom.

“It should have audio alarms where applicable which should go off upon breach or exceeding a critical tilt angle or any other parameters indicating ongoing theft or vandalism.”

The systems will also be equipped with CCTV cameras with infrared capabilities to help in theft and vandalism prevention.

“It should be inconspicuous and blend seamlessly with the transformer,” said Safaricom.

Under the deal, first revealed earlier this year, Safaricom is set to earn 75 percent of the additional sales or Sh53 billion, with Kenya Power taking the remaining Sh17.9 billion, according to the utility firm’s board papers.

The smart meters, which will cover electricity users that account for 84 percent of Kenya Power sales, is the latest plan to cut the system losses that remain well above the global benchmark of about 15 percent.

They will be connected to homes and businesses that consume more than 200-kilowatt hour (kWh) monthly.

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