Homes along wayleaves for power lines are set to get free electricity connection in a plan by a State transmission company to minimise costly conflicts with landowners.
Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) plans to include costs for connecting such households in financial proposals for faster implementation.
Fernandes Barasa, the Ketraco managing director, says homes where the lines pass will get electricity in partnership with the Rural Electrification Authority besides cash compensation packages.
This should help people to appreciate the benefits of power lines, thus reducing resistance and costly compensation in getting wayleaves, he said.
The electricity transmission monopoly spends billions of shillings in land compensation annually, costs which are sometimes more than market values.
“The plan is that when we have financing for the whole project, we also have a corresponding financing for rural electrification so that the locals also feel part and parcel of the bigger benefits of the big lines,” Mr Barasa said in an interview.
“One of the biggest challenges we are facing is wayleave acquisition where landowners are demanding exorbitant compensations as much as 10 times the market value.”
The rural electrification project is being piloted on the proposed high-voltage 93.1-kilometre Isinya-Namanga line whose construction deal was last October awarded to North China Power Engineering Company.
The 400 kiloVolt (kV) line — set for completion by the end of 2019 — will cost $26.67 million (Sh2.69 billion), co-funded by the African Development Bank ($22.42 million) and the government ($4.25 million).