16 January 2014

Kenya Power to Invest Sh51 Billion in Network

Nairobi — Kenya Power is set to invest Sh51 billion ($600 million) in electricity distribution networks in the next three years.

Kenya Power Managing Director Ben Chumo said the project will seek to strengthen the network in order to support heavy industrial and commercial use.

Chumo said the company was working on projects that will provide dedicated power supply lines to industrial and commercial centres with adequate redundancy to ensure continuous supply during periods of system maintenance.

"Our business is to support economic growth, and we plan mega investments in the network to make it robust to support manufacturers increase their productivity and expand capacity that will create more employment and wealth," he said.

Chumo explained there is also an on-going initiative to strengthen the existing distribution network by addressing inherent weaknesses to improve quality and reliability of electricity.

He said that the target of having a capacity of 5,000 Megawatts (MW) by the year 2030 was on course adding that by August this year 280 Megawatts from competitively priced geothermal power would be injected into the grid.

This, he added, will bring down the cost of power.

This comes as the company begun a countrywide meter inspection exercise aimed at ensuring that customers receive correct bills, and at the same time secure the company's revenue.

The company's Installation, Inspection and Fraud Control Deputy Manager for Commercial Services, Thagichu Kiiru said the inspection will target about two million customer installations in domestic, industrial and commercial segments.

Kiiru revealed that the company loses about five percent of revenue every year attributed to theft of electricity and hopes to reduce the loss by one percent this year.

He said besides contributing to loss of revenue for Kenya Power, compromised metering equipment through tampering and bypassing has often led to incorrect bills for customers, and may lead to electrical accidents.

He also revealed that the company suffers about 18.6 percent on technical/system losses per year which is being addressed by building bigger substations and re-wiring the existing lines.

The company's security reports indicate that illegal connections have been the major cause of electrocutions and slum fires which have been on the increase in the recent past.

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