How to build resilience in electricity ecosystem as connectivity grows


Kenya Power workers at work along Nyerere Avenue in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

The growing incidents of large-scale blackouts in Kenya have caused significant disruption to businesses and households.

Last week, the country registered yet another power outage the fourth in four-year time.

Nonetheless, the power distribution monopoly Kenya Power has not provided incontrovertible details surrounding the outage, particularly the cause.

Managing large-scale blackouts —typically of a transmission nature— requires improvement and resilience on power groundwork systems in general.

Compared to outages caused by human attacks, mechanical failures and inadequate operational maintenance have since become rampant

Kenya has over time registered exponential growth in grid connectivity, but this has not been matched by similar improvements in grid transmission framework.

To remedy this, there is a need to upgrade transmission and distribution capacity, and this would require concerted efforts by all key players in the transmission space.

Most experts acknowledge that expanding investments on transmission grid capacity through private sector involvement, particularly the Public-Private Partnership model would be an ideal resolve.

The managerial improvements at Kenya Power should transcend to every single aspect of the firm.

For instance, in eventualities such as power outages, utility companies, essentially are required to enhance on grid index with the intention of periodically publishing a grid reliability report to identify and track anomalies.

On the economic dimension, the energy system is considered reliable by ensuring that the impacts of intermittent network disturbances do not compromise on advancement made on social-economic outcomes of power connectivity.

Thirdly, the exigency to revisit the present configuration of service delivery for different electricity consumers with a view to enhancing efficiency is imperative.

Finally, there is no pathway to net zero without first achieving reliable, affordable, cost-effective universal electricity access.

The energy transition is a complex process which requires the entire value chain in the ecosystem to be infallible.