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Economy

500,000 homes in dark despite power connection subsidy

Bernard Ngugi.
Kenya Power Managing Director Bernard Ngugi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Jubilee administration is set to leave thousands of families in the dark when its term ends in two years as only 48 percent out of 1.02 million targeted households have been connected to the national electricity grid.

Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC, the utility firm charged with hooking households to the electricity mains, has so far connected 494,374 under a five-year subsidised electricity project launched in September 2015.

“Accelerating access to electricity has been a priority national goal, acknowledging that electricity supply catalyses socio-economic development,” said managing director Bernard Ngugi.

“The last mile project targets to connect a total of 1.02 million customers out of which 494,374 have already been connected. Rural centres transform quite fast after they are connected to supply.”

The project funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Kenyan government targeted customers situated near transformers and was to be carried out in three phases.

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The plan now in the second phase has largely been implemented through the funding from AfDB with 60 percent of the connected customers done through the banks funding. The government has funded about 30 percent and the rest done by funds from the World Bank.

The project may delay further as AfDB plans to audit the first phase of the project where some 224,952 customers were hooked to the grid through its funding.

The lender, which recently blacklisted a Chinese firm involved in the project last month invited firms to tender for the provision of audit services for the project, a process that will subsequently inform support for future Kenya Power projects.

“The independent development evaluation function of the African Development Bank Group invites individual consultants to indicate their interest for the impact evaluation of the Last Mile Connectivity Project in Kenya,” said the bank in a tender notice.

“The evaluation will focus on the bank-funded Last Mile Connectivity Project approved in 2014 and scheduled to close in 2020.”

Chinese company Sinotec contracted by Kenya Power for the second phase of Last Mile Project is said to have misrepresented its experience to meet qualification requirements for several AfDB-funded projects in what may have compromised the quality of connections.

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