Kenya Power gets Sh28 billion for grid upgrade

Kenya Power CEO, Joseph Siror speaks during the launch of the media campaign dubbed ‘Update Token Meter Yako’, on June 12, 2024. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

The Treasury has proposed to give Kenya Power Sh27.8 billion to upgrade the transmission network as the government steps in to help the utility firm improve its shaky electricity supply.

“To scale up the production of reliable and affordable energy, I have proposed an allocation of Sh69.7 billion to the energy subsector. This includes Sh27.8 billion for the National Grid System,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u said on Thursday when he presented his 2024/25 Budget Speech to Parliament.

Consumers are grappling with increased cases of outages and low-quality supply of electricity, hitches that Kenya Power has attributed to the ageing and dilapidated network.

An upgrade of the transmission network is critical to averting the mass exodus by the big consumers from Kenya Power’s books.

Electricity losses by Kenya Power remained above the allowed limit for the fourth year running, highlighting the utility’s struggles to supply reliable power. Analysis shows that system losses hit 23.2 percent in December last year, meaning that the utility lost 1,578.9 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) that it bought from power producers between July and December.

Big consumers of electricity, like factories, manufacturers, and industries are increasingly turning to alternative power sources, mainly solar and biogas plants, reducing dependence on Kenya Power.

Blackouts averaged 8.5 hours in a month as of December last year underlining the impact of the unreliable grid. Bamburi Cement, for example, says it experienced 111 blackouts last year.

The cement maker has since opted to generate its own power, joining other corporates such as Africa Logistics Properties, Mombasa International Airport the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, and East African Breweries.

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