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Busia, Homa Bay, Siaya stuck with kerosene lamps

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Households in Busia, Homa Bay and Siaya counties remain the most reliant on kerosene lamps for lighting despite the ongoing rural electrification initiative by the government, a new survey shows.

Majority of residents in Busia (72.1 per cent), Homa Bay (67 per cent), Siaya (65.6 per cent) and Bungoma (65.6 per cent) use paraffin as the main source of lighting, the study by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said.

The high reliance on kerosene lamps in the four counties contrasts a national trend where more households are taking up electricity and solar for lighting.

The high reliance on kerosene for lighting in Busia, Homa Bay, Siaya and Bungoma may be indicative of slow roll-out of the rural electrification project and high poverty levels in the counties.

Nationally, results indicated that slightly more than a third of the households used paraffin as the main source of lighting, a decline compared to 76.4 per cent households in the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS) 2005/06.

The proportion of rural households relying on paraffin (lantern, tin or pressure lamps) for lighting declined from 86.4 per cent in 2005/06 KIHBS to 48.6 per cent in 2015/16, statistics further show. But it is not just the four counties that remain reliant on unclean sources of lighting.

Households in Samburu and Turkana counties heavily rely on wood fuel for lighting with 39.3 per cent and 38.7 respectively, KNBS said.

“Majority of households in Wajir, Mandera and Garissa counties reported battery lamp/torch as their main source of lighting,” it further said.

Campaigns to adopt cleaner and healthier sources of lighting and cooking such as electricity nonetheless seem to be bearing fruit.

The KNBS said nationally, the proportion of households using electricity generated from the main grid to light up their homes was 41.4 per cent.

“Further, the results indicate that slightly more than a third of the households used paraffin as the main source of lighting, a decline compared to 76.4 per cent households in the 2005/06 KIHBS,” KNBS said.

“There was a notable increase in the use of solar power for lighting from 1.6 per cent in 2005/06 KIHBS to 14.1 per cent in 2015/16 KIHBS.”

The uptake of solar energy is particularly high in rural areas (21.7 per cent) compared to 4.2 per cent in urban.

The proportion of households in urban areas using light from electricity was 73 per cent compared to 17.1 per cent in rural households.

Majority of residents in Nairobi (90.7 per cent), Kiambu (80 per cent) and Mombasa (78.4) use electricity from the main grid as the source of lighting.

The study also reveals that when it comes to cooking, rural communities heavily rely on wood fuel (84.3 per cent) while urban households use kerosene (29 per cent), LPG (27.6 per cent) and charcoal (21.9 per cent).

Nairobi, Kiambu and Kajiado have the highest number of households that use LPG for cooking. Majority of homes that use kerosene to cook are found in Nairobi and Mombasa.

“Across the counties, Wajir, Bomet, West Pokot and Vihiga had high proportions of households using wood as the main cooking fuel,” the survey reveals.

Only three per cent of rural Kenyans use environmentally sustainable sources of energy, the KNBS households report further reveals.

However, Kenya is faring better than its neighbours and other Sub-Saharan countries in terms of access to clean and environmentally sustainable energy according to a report released last month by the World Economic Forum.

According to the report titled Fostering Effective Energy Transition: A Fact-Based Framework to Support Decision-Making, in terms of increasing access to electricity and transitioning to environmentally friendly sources of energy, Kenya “shows the highest readiness scores among Sub-Saharan countries, whose population faces energy access challenges.”

The report notes that for countries facing challenges in increasing access to electricity, “Kenya can be viewed as a good example of strong regulatory frameworks supporting energy access policy, which incentivise private stakeholders to invest.”

WEF further states that as at 2014, the Last Mile Connectivity Project had increased access to electricity from just 25 per cent in 2011 to about 46 per cent in 2014 through a grid densification programme funded through connection fee subsidies.

Only three per cent of rural Kenyans use environmentally sustainable sources of energy, the KNBS households report further reveals.

However, Kenya is faring better than its neighbours and other Sub-Saharan countries in terms of access to clean and environmentally sustainable energy according to a report released last month by the World Economic Forum.

According to the report titled Fostering Effective Energy Transition: A Fact-Based Framework to Support Decision-Making, in terms of increasing access to electricity and transitioning to environmentally friendly sources of energy, Kenya “shows the highest readiness scores among Sub-Saharan countries, whose population faces energy access challenges.”

The report notes that for countries facing challenges in increasing access to electricity, “Kenya can be viewed as a good example of strong regulatory frameworks supporting energy access policy, which incentivise private stakeholders to invest.”

WEF further states that as at 2014, the Last Mile Connectivity Project had increased access to electricity from just 25 per cent in 2011 to about 46 per cent in 2014 through a grid densification programme funded through connection fee subsidies.

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