Kenya electricity exports to Uganda dropped 78 per cent in the 10 months to October, cutting power sales to Kampala to Sh156 million.
Official data show Uganda bought 7.46 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of power in the period to October, down from 33.84 million in the same period last year — maintaining the downward trend that started last year.
Uganda paid Kenya Sh710 million in the first 10 months of last year. This denied Kenya an opportunity to gain from the higher tariff of Sh21 per unit the two countries inked in 2014, up from between Sh8 and Sh10.
Kampala is gaining from the increased sale to Kenya, which imported 196.2 million kWh in the period compared to 61.58 million units in the same 10-month window last year, marking a 221 per cent growth. Kenya paid Uganda about Sh4.1 billion for power sales in the first 10 months to October, making Kampala the key beneficiary of the higher tariff.
The Energy Regulatory Commission links the falling exports to Uganda to reduced demand from Kampala and depressed hydropower generation in Kenya following a drought that hurt electricity production dams.
At Sh21 per unit, the Uganda power is seven times costlier than hydropower generated from local dams.
Kenya experienced drought last year after low rainfall during the March –June season, which drove down water levels in dams and ultimately cut hydropower generation.
The hydroelectricity supply shortfall was plugged by increased intake of imports and expensive diesel-fired power, setting up Kenyans for costly energy bills.
Kenya has a direct electricity transmission line connecting with Uganda via Tororo, enabling bulk power imports.
Uganda is the largest market for Kenyan goods and has recently been pushing for an increased sale of its good to its neighbouring countries.