Kenya power cuts to end in October

September 2, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2- The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) said on Wednesday that the current nationwide rationing would end from the first week of October.

KPLC Managing Director Eng Joseph Njoroge said that they were expecting to receive additional power into the national grid that would cover the 160 Megawatts (MW) shortfall in the country.

“We anticipate that with the speed that we have seen and everything going right, by first week of October, we should be there. We should be saying no more putting off customers,” he said.

He said the company had started easing the rationing program following the injection of about 10 MW by Aggreko Plc which has been contracted to generate about 140 Megawatts of emergency power from their Embakasi and Naivasha sites.

Mr Njoroge who spoke when he toured the Embakasi site to review preparatory works being undertaken to connect emergency power, explained that the improvement was also supported by the injection of additional power into the grid by other producers.

He added that they were working to ensure that Mumias Sugar Company is able to avail 26 MW to the national grid. IberAfrica is providing 45MW, other generators such as Rabai Power Plant had started putting 17.5MW while the wind plant in Ngong was contributing 5MW.

“We are delaying the switching off (of power) sometimes to as late as 11am and we are restoring it as early as 6pm and sometimes 3pm. That is a relaxation that we would want to continue extending to our customers,” the MD stated.

The load-shedding program which started four weeks ago due to the low levels at Masinga Dam has hurt many businesses particularly those that are not included in the industrial zones.

KPLC has pledged to give priority to such industries when they start exempting some customers from the blackouts as they continue to have more generation.

Mr Njoroge however appealed to Kenyans to ensure that they conserve energy by switching off lights that are not in use or using energy saving appliances.

On its part, Mr Njoroge said the government has provided approximately Sh14.6 billion to cushion Kenyans against high electricity bills following the current dependence on emergency power generation.

He said the government was paying for the cost of installing the generators and had also exempted most of the fuels used in the electricity generation from taxes and duties.

“Duty and tax exemption that’s about Sh10 billion; in terms of the capacity charge that’s about Sh4.6 billion that is what government has budgeted to inject into this emergency power,” he stated.

However consumers will still have to pay high bills since the fuel cost charge which is a major component in the computation of the statements is expected to increase.

“Once we get more emergency power, we will expect the fuel cost charge to increase from the current Sh6.16 (per kilowatt hour) to a higher figure,” he said while explaining that this will be driven by the increased used of fuel (in generation) and the increase in crude oil prices.

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