Homes and industries in Western Kenya will have to wait longer for stable supply of electricity after the completion date for the Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu transmission line was pushed ahead again.
After months of a wayleave row with Kedong Ranch management and owners of another parcel in Kisumu's Mambo Leo, the Energy ministry now says the project will wait until September.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said the wayleave wrangles in Kedong had been settled but the line's completion will not be achievable in July as had earlier been planned.
"The contractor is now on the five-kilometre gap in Kedong and the project will be complete in September. We were also slowed down by Covid-19-related measures put in place to limit movements as you know the contractors are both foreign. Most of the areas have been stringed and we don't expect any other hurdle now," CS Keter said.
This is the fifth time the line, whose delay has starved Western Kenya of stable power supply from cheaper geothermal power from Olkaria, has moved its completion deadline.
The Sh18.2 billion project under construction by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) is said to have stalled for months after the Naivasha-based ranch managers opposed compensation plans.
This is one of the major wayleave challenges, coming months after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Land Value Amendment Act, 2019 that provides for the assessment of the land value index with respect to compulsory acquisition.
The law, which allows the National Land Commission to possess land for government projects and compensate the legal owners within one year using the land value index, was expected to eliminate such hurdles.
The 300-kilometre Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu line runs from Naivasha steam fields through Eldoret to the lakeside city of Kisumu and is expected to spur industrial growth in Western parts of the country as well as stabilise supply in the region now reliant on the diesel-run generator in Muhoroni and imports from Uganda.