Kenya power rationing ends

October 9, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Saturday will be the last day of the power rationing program that was effected two months ago, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) management has confirmed.

Managing Director Eng Joseph Njoroge said on Friday that the program would be lifted owing to the adequate capacity that has been installed into the national grid.

“Our customers will be able to enjoy power on a continuous basis; we have had very good feedback from them and we hope now from next week, they will be able to enjoy supply,” he enthused.

On Wednesday, communication from Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s office indicated that the load shedding program would be terminated after he met the National Taskforce on Accelerated Development of Green Energy which briefed him on the measures that had been undertaken to bridge the shortfall in energy supply.

Mr Njoroge explained that several Independent Power Producers such as the coastal based Rabai Power Plant were now injecting about 83.3Megawatts while IberAfrica and Mumias Sugar have been exporting 52.5MW and 26 MW respectively to the national grid.

He further disclosed that so far, only about 40 MW of emergency power had been installed but full capacity of 140MW should be injected by mid October.

“We have had more than 120MW injected into the grid and we will continue to inject more. We expect that by 18th of this month, all the emergency power will have been installed,” he said.

Mr Njoroge however assured that although electricity consumers will pay higher bills the fuel cost charge – which is a major component in the computation of the statements – would not increase significantly.

“Maybe because of the more volumes of fuel oil that we are using and perhaps because of the change in the cost of the global prices of oil, we expect just a slight increase in the fuel cost charge,” the MD added.

Since April this year, this charge has gone up from Sh4.50 (per kilowatt hour) to about Sh7.15. However the KPLC boss said he did not expect the cost to go beyond Sh7.63.

The anticipated El Nino rains are also expected to replenish the badly depleted water levels in many hydro electricity power generation plants which will also ease this cost.

Meanwhile, KPLC will start distributing energy saving bulbs by the end of November which upon installation will help save 49MW.

Two firms ‘Mtu wa Nguvu’ and ‘Lomas and Lomas’ have already been contracted to supply the one million bulbs from Germany.

Mr Njoroge spoke after signing a deal with the National Bank of Kenya which would enable its customers to pay their power bills through the bank’s branches across the country.

He said the service was a convenient way for the 1.3 million KPLC customers to settle their bills at no extra charge.

KPLC has also partnered with Postbank and Barclays Bank and mobile telephony operators Safaricom and Zain in an attempt to diversify options for its growing number of customers.

This partnership has seen the utility firm’s revenues grow slightly although figures were not immediately available.

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