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Economy

Full hydro dams set stage for cheaper power for Kenyans

Sondu- Miriu
Sondu- Miriu hydroelectric power plant in Nyakach in Kisumu. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA  

The filling up of the dams that supply water to Kenya’s hydropower plants has put the spotlight on power distributor Kenya Power to see whether it will serve cheaper electricity for households.

The long rains have resulted in a significant rise in levels at Masinga Dam, the main reservoir for the seven forks hydropower system from where Kenya sources its cheapest electricity.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said the dams had hit close to 100 per cent capacity last week, setting the stage for cheaper power for consumers.

“The dams are not doing badly … we have Masinga at 1,051 metres out of the full capacity of 1,056 metres,” Mr Keter said.

All the power from the various sources is, however, dispatched from a central point with priority supposed to be given to the cheapest source.

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The centre comprises representatives of Kenya Power and the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).

Hydro remained relatively low in the energy mix last month, according to data from the EPRA, at just 27.1 percent of the energy consumed during the month.

The contribution was lower than June when it stood at 28.8 percent at a time when the water levels in the dams were still relatively low.

EPRA Director-General Pavel Oimeke, however, said the dispatch of hydropower will remain measured to ensure the dam levels are left high in readiness for any weather eventualities in the near future.

“The short rains started recently after a long period of drought. The dispatch, therefore, needs to take care so that we don’t deplete the dam levels quickly. The fuel cost charge has been on a downward decline and the monthly figures are published in the Kenya Gazette,” Mr Oimeke said.

Sourcing from cheaper power will bolster Kenya Power’s ability to manage its costs, which recently pushed the utility firm to seek tariffs adjustments of 20 per cent.

The application under review was centred on the need to boost its ability to buy and distribute power to the more than seven million consumers within its network.

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