23 May 2012

Kenya: REA Says Electricity Access Up to 73 Per Cent

The Rural Electrification Authority has said that about 73 per cent of Kenya's population now have access to electricity owing to its efforts to connect public facilities across the country.

Speaking during a function where REA received ISO: 9001 certification from the Kenya Bureau of Standards for implementing management systems, CEO Zachary Ayieko said the authority targets to achieve 100 per cent access in the next two years.

"To date, REA has electified 18,000 public facilities leaving a balance of 7,000 to be electrified in the next two years," Ayieko said.

"The electrification of these public facilities means that approximately 73 per cent of the population in the rural areas have access to electricity."

Access to electricity, Ayieko explained, means being within 1.2km of a low-voltage line.

It differs from connectivity which refers to the actual number of households and people within them connected as compared to the total population in the country.

"By connecting 100 per cent of public facilities we should be able to access 100 per cent of the people," Ayieko said.

Public facilities targeted include trading centres, secondary schools, primary schools, health centres and community water works as well as domestic households within vicinity of these facilities.

The Ministry of Energy established the Rural Electrification Programme in 1973 to subsidize the extension of electricity supply to the rural areas but this commercial approach was deemed not to work.

An overhaul of the energy policy in the country led to Sessional Paper No 4 on Energy of 2004 which in turn led to the enactment of the Energy Act of 2006 that created REA.

"Before the establishment of REA connectivity in the rural area stood at 4 per cent including 1729 public facilities," Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said in a speech read for him by deputy Mahmoud Mohammed.

"By 30 June 201, REA had connected 14,000 major public facilities out of the total 21,000 in the country."

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