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PWC report faults Kenya power strategy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22- The government has been called upon to fast track all the activities in the power sector that aim to ensure adequate and cheaper power in the country.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Kenya Country Senior Partner Kuria Muchiru said while many efforts have been made to try and generate power from renewable sources, Kenya is still relying on emergency power and this might be detrimental to the economy.

“The generation of power from renewable sources which we have the capacity to exploit will take some time because these projects always take two to three years to plan and execute. So the issue is how we survive in those years?” he posed.

Pointing to the laying of The East African Marine System cable, which was completed on schedule, Mr Muchiru expressed confidence that the speedy implementation of these projects could be done as well.

The country, he observed, was paying for high cost of power partly because the emergency power, which is meant to be a short term initiative is now being used as a regular strategy of providing power.

“Businesses complain about the high cost of power because it makes them uncompetitive. So if we don’t solve this power issue, then the economy will not grow to its full potential,” he cautioned.

Mr Muchiru spoke to Capital Business after the launch of the PWC 2009 Utilities Global Survey which revealed the utility companies desire to have governments subsidising power generation.

The survey, which was carried out in 39 different countries including Kenya showed that with the economic downturn and climate change concerns, these companies are facing difficulties in trying to raise funds for power projects meet future energy demands and would appreciate government support in this front.

“About 72 percent (of the respondents) told us that yes the future of generation is going to the renewable but we don’t think we can do it without government subsidies,” he said of the study which also found out that there is limited skills in trying to deliver large portfolios of new power generation and investments.

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For Kenya to fully exploit its potential such as the 2000 Megawatts in geothermal, he added, the government needed to offer incentives and do much more through companies such as KenGen and ensure cheaper power.

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