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Economy

No relief on electricity bills as water levels in dams remain low

Water levels have remained low in the country’s hydro-power dams despite heavy rains
Water levels have remained low in the country’s hydro-power dams despite heavy rains, officials have said, ruling out immediate fall in electricity prices. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Water levels have remained low in the country’s hydro-power dams despite heavy rains, officials have said, ruling out immediate fall in electricity prices.

The Ministry of Energy says it may take a bit longer to raise the dam levels after months of low water volumes that have seen hydro generation decline consistently in the last three months starting August 2019.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said water levels in the Masinga dam was yet to rise after falling about 17 metres below its capacity.

“Masinga dam level is still low at 1041 metres compared to the 1056 metres when it is fully filled. It had gone down to 1039 and you know Sondu is a run- off so there is no dam there but it is currently looking good. Turkwel is yet to be back into generation,” Mr Keter said.

Hydro is the cheapest energy source, meaning the lower yield from the water sources continue to deny consumers the relief in power bills.

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Data from the Kenya national Bureau of Statistics show that generation from the hydro sources declined in the three months to August 2019 when about 251.48 million Kilowatt hours was generated a drop from 368.91 million KWh in July and 272.42 million KWh in June.

“Total local electricity generation decreased from 974.62 million KWh in July 2019 to 967.62 million KWh in August 2019,” KNBS wrote in its latest Leading Economic Indicators report.

The increased generation from another cheaper source, wind, saved the consumers from a sharp spike in prices of electricity after power generation from wind shot from a low of 92.38 million KWh in June to 151.43 million KWh in August.

The Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) which accounts for up to 75 percent of electricity consumed in the country commands an installed capacity of 818MW of hydroelectric power drawn from about nine large power stations (more than 10MW) and about five other small hydropower stations.

Consumers who purchased higher quantities of the more expensive thermal power in the first half of 2019 will now wait for better dam levels to be achieved before anticipating relief on power bills.

Should the rains continue to be heavy in the Loyangalani and Turkana areas, generation from wind is also likely to be depressed as was experienced earlier in the year.

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