Kenya Power has so far put in Sh900 million in its ongoing power upgrade aimed at uniterripted power supply, managing director Ben Chumo said yesterday.
He said the project dubbed 'Boresh umeme viwandani' which upon completion will inject an extra 5,000 megawatts into the national grid has a Sh 1 billion budget.
Chumo said the distributor will install 200 dedicated power lines to manufacturers in Industrial Area adding that 215 wooden electric power line poles will be replaced with concrete type poles within selected areas of Nairobi.
"In Nairobi, we are going to replace 61 transformers, 20 cable structures and 200 kilometers of high tension lines. The project has also kicked off in Mombasa, Kisumu, Meru, Thika, Busia, Kitui, Bungoma and Namanga," he said.
He assured that the upgrade will not affect business operations: "We are using a highly mechanised process in order to reduce power interruption time during the upgrade. Our multipurpose machines are digging and planting poles in a few minutes unlike previously when the process had to be done manually."
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Cabinet secretary, Emmanuel Chirchir said the government is out to ensure power cost is reduced in order to attract foreign investments.
"Manufactures are among the top 100 power consumers and they consume up to 10 per cent of total electricity in the grid. We want to ensure that there is affordable and reliable power supply after the 5000+ MW is rolled out in 2015," he said.
They were speaking yesterday during a media briefing in Nairobi.
Chirchi said the $800 million (Sh70.23 billion) that was sourced from the Africa Development Bank for the last mile connectivity in rural areas will grow the number of consumers from 30 per cent to 70 per cent once the program is complete.
"The last mile program will significantly subsidize the cost of connecting power in rural areas. Power connectivity cost that currently stands at Sh35,000 for single phase consumers might even reduce further," he said.
He said the programme being implemented through the Rural Electrification Authority, will connect 3,000 primary schools to the grid before the end of the 2014-15 financial year adding that another 3,000 will get solar power.
"We want to connect primary schools with power in order to ensure a successful roll out of the laptop project for class one pupils before the end of year. We have already gotten a budget from the National Tresury and REA has 1,000 contractors in the ground," he said.