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Kenya launches energy saving initiative

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17- The government on Wednesday launched the multi-million shillings energy saving bulbs project which will see poor families receive three free bulbs in exchange for their non fluorescent ones.

The project dubbed ‘badilisha bulb’ which cost Sh460.7 million is expected to reduce power demand by 60 megawatts and subsequently increase electricity supply.

Assistant Minister for Energy Charles Keter said the project would only target those living in high density areas and that it would enable the government get rid of the expensive emergency power generators.

“The other categories of people have the means of buying these bulbs because let’s be honest we can’t buy for everybody. The government grant only bought 1.25 million bulbs which will serve about 400,000 customers,” he said.

Kenya Power and Lighting Company Managing Director Joseph Njoroge said the project would positively impact the Kenyan economy and enable the company meet its growing demand.

He said as a result of the project, the electricity load would be reduced by “about 50 megawatts which otherwise would have cost the government Sh15 billion to invest.”

Eng Njoroge further asked Kenyans to flush out those who had illegal electricity connections and those who were constantly vandalising the firm’s electrical equipment. Such people, he said, were a threat to KPLC’s business and the country’s economy.

“When vandalism started, around five years ago, we lost in excess of Sh2.4 billion which translated to half a billion per year. Currently vandalism costs KPLC about Sh1 billion per year and the economy itself is losing more than Sh2 billion,” he said.

While addressing residents of Jericho estate where the project was launched, Eng Njoroge said the distribution of the bulbs had commenced in Nairobi and in West Kenya where over 80,000 bulbs had so far been supplied.

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He also explained that the bulbs would help reduce energy consumption as they only had an energy capacity of 11 Watts compared to the non fluorescent ones which consume 60 Watts. He explained that if the bulbs were used for a maximum of 2.7 hours everyday they could last for up to 15 years and that if they were used for a maximum of six hours, they would last for seven years.

Nairobi will get the highest allocation of the bulbs at 625,000 followed by Western (296,000). Mt Kenya region and coast province will get 182,000 bulbs and 147,000 bulbs respectively.

Some small commercial customers, schools and health centers will also be targeted in the initiative and will get a maximum of four bulbs each.

Distribution of the bulbs started on the January 25. Two companies, Lomas & Lomas and Motonguvu E.A Ltd., will supply the bulbs which were manufactured by Osram GmbH company of Germany.

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