New Ketraco-run power dispatch hub allocated Sh4 billion

A Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO) Substation. 

Photo credit: File Photo | Nation Media Group

The Treasury has allocated Sh4.18 billion in the new fiscal year starting July for the construction of an electricity dispatch hub to be managed by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco).

The National System Control Centre (NSCC) is located on Juja Road in Nairobi under Kenya Power until January 2022, when the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) stripped it of its role.

A system operator controls the mix of electricity from different producers supplied to the national grid to primarily ensure stability and that consumers get the cheapest available power.

The operator also matches the demand for power from consumers with electrical energy availability, maintaining the security of the electric power system, and arranging for the dispatch process.

Ketraco is currently building a new control centre on Mombasa Road.

Managing director John Mativo said on Thursday that the firm is negotiating contracts for the construction of the NSCC.

“Ketraco is the designated system operator in the power sub-sector pursuant to Section 138 of the Energy Act 2019 and is currently developing a new state-of-the-art NSCC,” said the firm in September 2022.

The entity that controls the load centre is known as a system operator. Electricity distributor Kenya Power is currently the country’s system operator. The utility controls power dispatch to consumers across the country through the decades-old National Control Centre on Juja Road.

In December 2021, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority gazetted Ketraco as the new system operator, with Kenya Power’s position as both the system operator and a power seller considered a conflict of interest.

Even as plans for a new Ketraco-owned NSCC heat up, Kenya Power recently launched a backup load centre to provide an alternative dispatch point in case of failure of the main NSCC. The facility in Makindu at the Coast will also serve as a training centre, the utility said last month.

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