Tough times for Kenya power users

March 14, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 – Electricity consumers should not expect a significant drop in power bills any time soon, after the Kenya Meteorological Department forecast depressed rainfall for most parts of the country between March and May. 

KenGen Managing Director Eddy Njoroge said the Met department’s prediction meant the company would have to meet power demand through thermal electricity which is three times more expensive than hydro-electric power.

“You can have very heavy rains for a very short time in which case for us (our) dams can still fill. If rains come there will be cheaper power, if they don’t come properly then of course we will continue using a lot more thermal (power) than we should,” he said in an interview. 

KenGen is also looking to geothermal power generation and a proposed Geothermal Development Company to meet electricity demands in a sustainable matter.

“Geothermal is our strategy because we believe in the long run it is the cheapest option for this country. Geothermal Development Companies will be looking at new areas where there is geothermal potential. They will be drilling in those areas and then the IPP’s (Independent Power Producers) can build power plants,” he explained.

In a seasonal forecast statement, the Director of the Meteorological Department Joseph Mukabana indicated that most parts of the country were likely to experience deficient rainfall, except for the Lake Victoria basin, Western highlands, North Rift Valley and the South Coast.

“The rains are expected to continue into June over Nyanza, Western and parts of Rift Valley Provinces, but will cease during the second week of May over the southern parts of Eastern Province,” he said.

"Rainfall is expected to be depressed in the better part of the country, during the peak rainfall month of April. The areas to be most affected by this deficit will be North-eastern, Central, Nairobi and northern parts of Eastern Province," the statement read in part.

While the rains are expected to start in the second or the third week of March, onset in North Eastern, Coast and northern parts of Eastern Province will be delayed by one or two weeks.


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