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Economy

Counties catch up with Nairobi on street lighting

Workers fix a street light on an power pole in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. file photo | nmg.
Workers fix a street light on an power pole in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. file photo | nmg. 

Counties outside Nairobi have bridged the gap with the capital city in the use of electricity for street lighting over the past four years.

Latest data shows that the 46 counties have grown their share of demand for street lighting power from 35 per cent in 2013 when devolution took effect to 50 per cent currently.

The remaining half is taken up by Nairobi whose dominance has weakened from 65 per cent in 2013, according to a report by electricity distributor Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC.

County governors have over the past four years made strides in lighting up town roads, encouraged by the lower tariffs they pay for street lights. In 2015, the Energy Regulatory Commission cut tariffs for street lights by 60 per cent between 6pm and 6am to Sh4.36 per kilowatt hour (kWh), down from Sh11.

The lower tariffs were meant to boost 24-hour economies in counties and reduce insecurity.

Kenya Power data shows that Nairobi used 29 gigawatt hours (GWh) to light up its streets in the year to June 2017, the same amount the other 46 counties jointly used.

This brings the total energy used by Kenya for street lights to 58 GWh, up from 23 GWh in 2013, representing a more than double growth over the four-year period.

The utility firm has divided the country into seven regions based on street lights power; Nairobi, Mount Kenya, Coast, Western, Central Rift, North Eastern and North Rift.
After Nairobi, Mt Kenya region is the second largest user of electricity for street lights with a seven GWh demand followed by North Eastern (six GWh).

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