NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – Garissa is set to be connected to the national grid once efforts by Kenya Power to construct a transmission line to a proposed substation in the town are complete.
The town’s maximum power demand is about 2.1 MW that is sourced from one heavy fuel oil generator and three industrial diesel oil generators with a capacity of 3.4MW.
“Residents will now enjoy the benefits of being connected to the national grid,” Kenya Power Managing Director and CEO Joseph Njoroge said.
A Sh3.9 billion loan advanced by the World Bank will facilitate the construction of 132 kilowatts (kV) sub stations based in Garissa, Kitale, Awendo and Mwingi.
The transmission lines will interconnect substations in Eldoret, Kisii and Kindaruma that are to be implemented under the Kenya Electricity Expansion Project (KEEP).
“We will expect that in about two year’s time all the projects will be completed. So by 2014 we should see them up and running,” Njoroge revealed.
The transmission component of the projects will be carried out by Kenya Power on behalf of the state-sponsored Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), who will eventually own and operate the power lines once complete.
ABB South Africa Ltd won contracts to establish two substations in Kitale and Awendo and construct take-off bays at existing substations in Eldoret and Kisii respectively at a cost of $10.2 million (Sh846.8 million).
Indian engineering and construction firm KEC International will extend the transmission take-off bay at Kindaruma substation and install 7.5 MVA transformers at proposed substations in Mwingi and Garissa for $7.9 million (Sh654.4 million).
While Tata Projects also from India will put up a 224 kilometre, 132 kV single circuit transmission line from Kindaruma power station to Garissa via Mwingi for $8.2 million as well as a 132 kV power line from Eldoret to Kitale for $2.7 million (Sh224.8 million).
These efforts, Njoroge said, are to reinforce the country’s electricity network while improving the quality of power supply.
“We want to increase the access rate in the country to 40 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2030. We added 250,000 customers in the last financial year and plan to have an additional 300,000 for this financial year,” he said.
Kenya Power currently has 1.9 million electricity customers and had been adding an average of 200,000 customers annually since 2008.
The national electric utility company is at advanced stages with its Sh20 billion plan to convert the overhead power lines to an underground cable system in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
The project involves laying a total of 645 kilometres of 11 Kilovolt lines and 1,570 kilometres of low voltage power lines underground in the three cities.
The high voltage lines will be laid one meter underground while the low voltage cables will be 0.5m underground.