More than 300 households in Vihiga will be connected to cheaper power beginning November following the launch on Thursday of the construction of a Sh50 million mini-hydro power station on River Garagoli at Kaimosi in Hamisi.
County commissioner Boaz Cherotich, who launched the project, said construction is expected to take four months. Keromatt Company won the contract to build the plant.
Funded by the ministry of Devolution, the hydro plant will also supply power to Kaimosi Teachers College, the new Kaimosi Friends University College, Friends College Kaimosi and other learning institutions.
“Once complete, the project will supply power at lower rates to the residents of Shamakhokho and Shaviringa and extend gradually to other areas,” said Mr Cherotich.
Moris Anyila, the project manager, said the mini power station would produce 250 kilowatts.
“The people who will be connected from this station would be offered lower charges than Kenya Power rates and determined by the energy regulator,” said Mr Anyila.
“We shall also sell some power to Kenya Power because we are partners in the same industry.”
The county commissioner asked residents to take the advantage of the government subsidy to apply for electricity connection.
President Uhuru Kenyatta recently announced a reduction of the power connection fee from Sh35,000 to Sh15,000 under the power utility’s Sh34 billion Last Mile project.
Based on ability to pay, the new connections will have the option of monthly remittances.
Through the project, Kenya Power seeks to connect more than 300,000 new users, including learning institutions. The government targets to have at least 70 per cent of households connected by 2017.
“I urge many people to take advantage and apply for electricity connection,” said Mr Cherotich.
He said the county Kenya Power manager Evans Kowuor had assured him that many homes would be connected.
Kenya Power this week announced that it would install 119 transformers across the county beginning September and connect people falling within 600 metres from transformers.
Mr Kowuor said the power distributor’s Mbale office was targeting to connect 6, 545 new customers once the transformers are installed.
“Averagely, a single transformer serves 55 people. The figure could go up in places such as Emuhaya with its dense population,” he said.