Demand for electricity hits three-year high

Electricity consumers queue to pay their bills at the Kenya Power offices. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Electricity consumers queue to pay their bills at the Kenya Power offices. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s maximum demand for electricity grew the fastest in three years, fuelled by increased connections.

Data from electricity distributor Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC shows that the peak demand — maximum power ever consumed —  shot to 1,710 megawatts in the year ending June 30, a 7.8 per cent rise from 1,586 megawatts a year earlier.

This is the fastest demand growth from a 4.8 per cent rise in the 2015/16 year and three per cent a year earlier. It came as customers connected to the national grid grew to 6.2 million currently, from one million in 2010, a six-fold jump over the seven-year period.

The utility firm has been riding on increased sales to grow its bottom line which, however, remained flat at Sh7.2 billion, dimmed by higher operating and maintenance costs on its expanded distribution network.

State-owned Kenya Power has since last year been connecting homes at subsidised costs of Sh15,000 down from Sh35,000 as part of the government’s strategy to light up more homes.

Households and businesses consumed 5.6 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity in the eight months to August, up from 5.1 billion units in a similar period last year, according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Kenya’s total power capacity rose marginally to 2,370 megawatts in the year ending June, from 2,341 megawatts a year earlier and 1,885 megawatts in 2014.

This came after electricity producer KenGen #ticker:KEGN expanded its capacity including additional 10 megawatts of geothermal energy.