Counties

Power agency in new plan to light up rural homes

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Kieni MP Kanini Kega (right,) and Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation board chairman Simon Gicharu during the launch of last mile connectivity at Mitero village in Nyeri County. NMG PHOTO

Summary

  • A State agency plans to partner with county governments and constituencies to boost rural electrification.
  • Under the deal, county governments and constituency development funds will contribute half of the cost of bringing power grids to rural areas with the Rural Electrification and Energy Corporation (REREC) contributing the balance.
  • Thursday, REREC opened an office and logistics unit in Mweiga, Nyeri that will serve parts of Central Kenya, Eastern and North eastern regions.

A State agency plans to partner with county governments and constituencies to boost rural electrification.

Under the deal, county governments and constituency development funds will contribute half of the cost of bringing power grids to rural areas with the Rural Electrification and Energy Corporation (REREC) contributing the balance.

Thursday, REREC opened an office and logistics unit in Mweiga, Nyeri that will serve parts of Central Kenya, Eastern and North eastern regions.

The move is meant to deepen electricity supply to rural homes and shopping centres, especially in arid and semi-arid areas.

“We are investing in connecting more rural areas to electricity and especially embrace renewable energy use, in partnership with our stakeholders,” said REREC board chairman Simon Gicharu during launch of the Mweiga logistics hub yesterday.

“The time taken to implement projects will be scaled down and customers will enjoy faster service delivery trough the Mweiga stores. We are in the process of opening similar stores in other parts of the country,” he said.

The State plans to connect 2.4 million households to subsidised power in the year starting July, inching closer to the ambitious goal of universal electricity access.

REREC’s mandate is to accelerate rural electrification projects across Kenya while Kenya Power — a majority State-owned company that is a listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange —manages distribution and billing of consumers.

The rural electrification agency is betting on its partnerships with county government and constituency funds to accelerate electricity connection in remote villages.

This is an upgrade of its earlier strategic plan that mainly focused on connection of power to public facilities, with the Jubilee government emphasising on hooking all primary school to the national grid to enable it launch the digital learning programme.

Now, REREC will install transformers and low-voltage lines to reach homes in remote villages. The homes will pay Kenya Power Sh15, 000 for metering and link to the grid.

Mr Gicharu says the partnership will remove a major hurdle to acceleration of rural electrification and spur village economies as residents open up businesses like welding, barber shops, hotels and cyber cafés.

“REREC working with county governments and constituencies has executed 510 projects worth Sh1.033 billion under the shilling for shilling programme,” said Mr Gicharu.